White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hits his first home run of season

The first-inning shot sparked a dugout celebration.

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Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates in the dugout following a home run during the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 29, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Guardians 7-2.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

After a stretch of 419 plate appearances dating to last season, shortstop Tim Anderson’s careerlong homerless streak ended three pitches into his first at-bat of the White Sox’ 7-2 victory Saturday against the Guardians.

And it ended emphatically.

Reinserted into the leadoff spot because left fielder Andrew Benintendi got the night off, Anderson clubbed a fastball from Logan Allen 429 feet to left field, with the sort of true pull-side power swing not seen from him since 2021.

‘‘I was more so worried about getting my swing back, not really worried about homers,’’ said Anderson, who had three hits. ‘‘You’ve got to get in your legs. It was at a point where I was feeling I wasn’t in them. I kept working, and [I’m] still working trying to master it.’’

A mob scene in the dugout, where Anderson’s teammates hid in the tunnel to the clubhouse before swarming him in celebration, suggests the drought was on everyone’s mind more than Anderson let on. Despite 10 multihit games in July, Anderson (.245/.286/.293) still is mired in the worst offensive season of his career.

‘‘He’s battled some injuries that I truly believe have hampered him not only this year but last year, as well,’’ manager Pedro Grifol said. ‘‘He had that [knee] injury in Minnesota. That affected his stride. He’ll sit here and probably tell you there’s no excuses, but I can talk for him. Sometimes it just throws your balance off, your mechanics off.’’

Anderson is too important to the Sox for his struggles not to be a significant part of their disappointing season and sell-off, but he insisted he has remained confident throughout.

‘‘I’m definitely a step closer to feeling back fully healthy,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘I think you go through these moments to kind of see what’s on the other side, go through these moments to learn, these moments to tap into something different.’’

Lee comes recommended

Even as he returned to the lineup and hit his 13th homer, first baseman Andrew Vaughn will be playing through soreness caused by a bone bruise in his left foot for a while.

But his spirits are buoyed by the possibility of teaming up with former college roommate Korey Lee, whom the Sox acquired from the Astros on Friday for reliever Kendall Graveman.

‘‘He’s a really good catcher,’’ Vaughn said. ‘‘He’s got a cannon behind the plate. He’s good back there. He’s a good hitter. He’s got a lot of pop.’’

Lee hit .283/.328/.406 this season in an offense-friendly environment at Triple-A Sugarland, but he now is rehabbing an oblique injury. Grifol, however, said Lee should be expected in Chicago this season.

‘‘Athletic, he can really throw, he has some pop in his bat,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘I think we did really well there. It’s an area of need for us that we addressed here in the last couple of days.’’

Not enough focus from Colas

On top of rookie Oscar Colas posting a sub-.500 OPS at the plate since being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte this month, Grifol said he isn’t seeing the defense he wants from him. Colas has committed three errors in right field in this series.

‘‘He makes a lot of mistakes out there, and they’re careless mistakes that we have to continue to clean up,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘You’ve just got to make sure you stay on top of him at all times. And you’ve got to hold him accountable.’’

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