ARLINGTON, Texas — AJ Pollock stepped into the leadoff role for the Chicago White Sox on Sunday with Tim Anderson suspended.
Pollock sparked the offense with three hits, a run and an RBI in an 8-2 victory against the Texas Rangers in front of 29,579 at Globe Life Field.
“Big hits,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “That’s what you need sometimes. Especially the first three games (of the series), we couldn’t get something going. (In) Tim’s spot, (Pollock) was the igniter. First couple of hits were clutch.”
Andrew Vaughn hit a two-run homer and Luis Robert drove in two with a double as the Sox salvaged a split of the four-game series.
“The offense put it on them,” Pollock said. “It’s what we needed. (Saturday) I thought (Rangers starter Dane) Dunning threw really well, and it looked like we were flat. We came ready to play, we prepared. It just wasn’t working.
“It was good to come out (Sunday) and get some runs early and pile it on. I thought we played a good game.”
After three subpar nights in which they scored a combined four runs, the Sox offense did a little bit of everything Sunday.
There was two-out scoring as Pollock drove in Josh Harrison with a single in the second for the game’s first run.
The Sox showcased power when Vaughn launched his two-run homer in the third to make it 3-0.
They made the most of a mistake an inning later. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager booted a Leury García grounder to begin the fourth. García scored on Robert’s two-run double, and Robert scored on an Eloy Jiménez single.
There was also production with the bases loaded via a walk by Yoán Moncada that brought home a run in the sixth.
“Sometimes I feel like we’ve had really good approaches and maybe it doesn’t seem like that because the results aren’t there,” Pollock said. “Other times the approach is the same and the runs come. It’s just baseball and it doesn’t feel good when you don’t score runs. It feels great when you score runs and everyone is happy.”
The Sox had 15 hits in the first of two games without Anderson. The All-Star shortstop was suspended three games by Major League Baseball and fined an undisclosed amount for making contact with plate umpire Nick Mahrley on July 29 against the Oakland Athletics. He appealed and the suspension was reduced to two.
García filled in at shortstop and had three hits and scored twice.
“I know the game is just to get on base,” García said. “I’ve got great hitters behind me and that’s what I try to do, get on base.”
He was one of four Sox players with three hits, joined by Pollock, Vaughn and José Abreu.
“Everybody contributed,” La Russa said. “(Anderson is) so special, you can’t replace him. But Leury, he’s a player too. And they know, sometimes we play short, still find a way to win.”
García also made a nice play with the bases loaded in the third, fielding a high chopper and making a strong throw to first for the final out.
Earlier in the inning, Pollock made a nice sliding catch in right field for the second out. Seager, who was on third, didn’t tag and wound up stranded.
“Trying to be aggressive,” Pollock said. “I got a pretty good jump on it. (Adolis García) hit it really hard and I was able to make the play.”
Sox starter Lucas Giolito benefited from the solid defense. He allowed one run on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“Performance was OK,” Giolito said of his 103-pitch outing. “Five and dive again, similar to my last start. Frustrating. One long inning (the third) is kind of doing me in as far as going deeper. But I’m happy with my ability to battle through and keep the damage really low in that inning. Just the one run. I feel like I really found a nice groove in the fourth and fifth inning.
“But the story is the offense coming out with a vengeance. The series didn’t go the way we wanted it to early. We knew that (Sunday) was an important day and they came out swinging. A lot of extra-base hits and a lot of run support. So it’s always a good thing.”
The Sox gained a game on the Minnesota Twins, who lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in 10 innings. The Sox trail the Twins by two games and the Cleveland Guardians by one in the American League Central.
“We’ve had really short bursts and we have to focus on what we are doing and not what anyone else outside this locker room is doing,” Pollock said. “That’s our focus and we will see what happens. If we play a good stretch and long stretch of good baseball, we’ll be all right.”