SAN FRANCISCO — The White Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Giants and a 4-2 road trip Sunday.
It being the Fourth of July Monday, there’s no better time for a team that considers itself postseason material to get hot.
The Sox are 38-39 and in need of a hot streak. And they are finally showing signs of maybe, just maybe, having the wherewithal to go on one.
But nothing is promised.”You’ve seen us get back to or close to .500 and we’ll go four back under,” said Lance Lynn, whose six scoreless innings against the Giants Friday set the tone for the sweep. “We have to fight to get back to .500 and when we get there don’t let up. It can’t be ‘push to get there’ and when we get there, ‘OK.’ Can’t take a deep breath and see what’s going on. There’s no more deep breaths. We have to keep going and keep pushing till the end of the year.”
There would be no better time than now to keep pushing on, with the Twins in town for three games. The Twins lead the Sox, the team that was supposed to be leading the Twins by now, by 4 1/2 games. Between now and the All-Star break in two weeks, the Sox have 15 games in 14 days against AL Central teams.
It’s an important stretch.
“Big time,” said outfielder Engel said, who will bolster the White Sox’ outfield depth when he comes off the injured list any day now.
“Division games are big. When this team is playing good baseball it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we have a good chance to win. We just have to keep playing good ball.”
Lucas Giolito picked up where Lynn and Dylan Cease (five innings, one run) left off in this series, pitching six innings of one run ball in the Sox’ 13-4 victory Sunday. Giolito struck out seven in the first three innings, then pitched to contact in the last three. He gave up three hits and walked three in his second straight good start after four or five bad ones, an encouraging sign for the Sox.
With Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly and Tanner Banks, the only lefty in the bullpen all unavailable after pitching in consecutive days, Giolito’s six innings and the Sox’ six runs on a Giants bullpen day were exactly what manager Tony La Russa needed. He gets closer Liam Hendriks back off the injured list Monday, just in time for the Twins.
A win Monday puts the Sox at .500 for the first time. The Sox haven’t been a .500 team since June 21. Then they lost four in a row.
“Can’t get over it till you get there,” La Russa said. “We get Liam back tomorrow, the club is more complete than it’s been. Get some wins. This one today and two weeks in the Central. That will be fun, headto head. The Twins have won a couple games late, they’re for real and Cleveland is for real. It’s exactly what you need, man. You need to play against tough competition, that’s how you get better.”
The Twins lead the season series, 3-0, after sweeping a three-game set at Target Field in April.
“Sweep this series today and go into that one on a streak,” AJ Pollock said. “It’s not bad to have urgency. We’re playing pretty average.
“We’ve had some moments, we have a good team. You just have to piece everything together. It’s a whole group effort. You have a game where you flash and then you lose the next one. It’s not like basketball where one guy gets hot and carries a team. You need to have a lot of things happen.”
Luis Robert singled in two runs in the third to get the Sox offense going, Gavin Sheets drove in three runs with his third double in two days in the fifth. In a five-run fifth, Seby Zavala doubled in two runs and Andrew Vaughn singled home a pair. The Sox had 17 hits, three by Zavala and Leury Garcia.