CHICAGO – It didn’t follow the exact script, but Sunday looked a lot like the White Sox’s June 18 game against the Cubs.
Considering that was the date of the Sox’s most memorable win of the season, they were thrilled with the repeat.
“It means the same,” Eloy Jiménez said. “It’s a homer. Of course I’m going to enjoy it. But for me the most important thing is we win.”
On June 18, Jiménez hit a broken-bat home run in the ninth inning that snapped a 1-1 tie at Wrigley Field and lifted the Sox to a 3-1 win over the Cubs.
“It was a dream come true,” said Jiménez, who was traded to the Sox from the Cubs on July 13, 2017.
Jiménez came up huge in his first series pitting the South Side versus the North Side, and the rookie left fielder delivered quite an encore Sunday at Guaranteed Field.
At the plate in a scoreless game in the fourth inning, Jiménez just missed hitting a home run down the left-field line after Jon Jay led off with a single against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks.
“I thought I got it,” he said. “But at the last turn, it was foul.”
Staying with it, Jiménez got a 3-2 sinker from Hendricks and smoked a 438-foot home run to center field, lifting the Sox to a 3-1 victory.
Same score as June 18, same guy hitting the big two-run home run.
“I just tried to stay through the middle,” Jiménez said. “I didn’t try to do too much because I know [Hendricks] doesn’t have the velocity to pass me with a fastball. That’s why I stayed through the middle, just try to hit a line drive, and I hit it out.”
Ivan Nova was the Sox’s starter June 18, and he pitched a solid game.
Nova started Sunday as well and threw 52/3 scoreless innings against the Cubs while winning his first home game of the year.
“I was thinking about doing my job,” Nova said after going 0-4 with an 8.31 ERA in his first seven home starts. “A lot of time a win does not depend on me. I can do a good job out there and we still have to score runs and the bullpen has to hold it. I try to do a good job for my team.
“Why would I have to feel pressure to win games? Like I told you, the win depends on everybody. You can do a good job and not get the win. But it’s good to win.”
The Sox pull into the All-Star break with a 42-44 record. Last year, they were 33-62 at the same point.
“We’re going to come back and keep pushing,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We want them to know we’ve been pushing in a positive direction, and they should be proud of themselves because they are trusting each other more and doing a lot of things you would want them to do.”