Eloy Jimenez homers in return from IL, and White Sox walk off on Leury Garcia’s single
The move should help a team that has been hit with plenty of injuries this season.
The White Sox activated outfielder Eloy Jimenez from the injured list Wednesday.
It didn’t take long for him to make a much-needed impact.
Jimenez, who had surgery to repair a torn hamstring tendon behind his right knee April 26, homered in his second at-bat after returning from a rehab assignment. It was the first of three game-tying home runs by the Sox in a desperately needed 9-8 victory in 10 innings against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
‘‘It was one of the days you feel like, ‘Yeah, I’m back,’ ’’ Jimenez said.
The Sox averted a three-game sweep that would have dropped them 71⁄2 games behind the American League Central-leading Twins. Instead, they’re 51⁄2 back after coming back five times and winning on a walk-off single by Leury Garcia.
Jimenez, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn hit tying two-run homers, and Jimenez also singled in a run.
‘‘It was huge,’’ said catcher Seby Zavala, who had two hits and helped keep a double-play grounder by the Twins’ Ryan Jeffers in order by blocking two pitches from Jose Ruiz in the 10th. ‘‘Anytime we can get a game from anyone who’s ahead of us in the standings, it’s big.’’
Garcia’s single against left-hander Jovani Moran, which scored free runner Adam Engel from third, set off a celebration in the infield. After closer Liam Hendriks pitched a scoreless ninth, Ruiz worked a scoreless 10th to earn the victory.
‘‘The game was on the line, and it was good to contribute,’’ said Garcia, who has two game-winning hits in the last six games.
Jimenez homered on a 1-2 pitch from Twins right-hander Joe Ryan with no outs in the fourth. He watched his high drive that topped out at 157 feet above ground clear the fence from the batter’s box, leaning to his right as it landed 357 feet from the plate.
‘‘I thought it was foul,’’ Jimenez said.
Vaughn’s tying homer against Trevor Megill came with two outs and two strikes in the eighth. He also made a leaping catch at first base to take possible extra bases away from Gilberto Celestino.
‘‘I looked up and saw we would score, they would score, we would score, they would score,’’ Vaughn said. ‘‘Going back and forth, and it was a good baseball game. We pitched well when we needed to. We hit well when we needed to.’’
The Twins got two homers from Jorge Polanco and one from Gio Urshela. Right-hander Lance Lynn gave up the first one to Polanco and allowed five runs in five innings.
‘‘I put us down early, didn’t throw the ball well,’’ Lynn said. ‘‘And every time we came back and tied it, I kept giving it back up. For the offense to keep doing their thing and scoring some runs there and tie it up with some big hits, it was a good win. Those guys have been doing everything they can and trying their butt off. And hopefully today that’s something that sparks them. We get Eloy back in the lineup and things like that. Big things can happen.’’
Jimenez’s homer tied the score at 3, Robert’s at 5 and Vaughn’s at 8 for the Sox, who have been out-homered 55 to 35 at home.
It was the second homer of the season for Jimenez, who hit one in 11 games before suffering the injury April 23. He had only two homers and a .246/.318/.351 hitting line in a 17-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte.
‘‘I feel good, I’m not going to lie,’’ Jimenez said. ‘‘I feel way different than last year. But more baseball to play, and let’s get out there and do our best.’’
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“That smile lights everything up. It was great to get him back,” La Russa said. “But when he’s productive like that, that’s exactly what we need, that thump in the middle to produce runs. That’s what inspires us.”