RAPID-RE­SPONSE TEAM

Keuchel’s com­ments light fire un­der Sox in vic­tory vs. Tigers

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN dvan­schouwen@sun­times.com | @CST_­sox­van

On Mon­day, left-han­der Dal­las Keuchel aired out his team­mates.

On Tues­day, the White Sox re­sponded. Al­most im­me­di­ately.

Eloy Jimenez blasted his way out of a 4-for-35 slump by lift­ing a three-run home run to right­cen­ter field in the first in­ning — a poke that came two at-bats af­ter Jose Abreu had dou­bled home Tim An­der­son — to spark the Sox to an 8-4 vic­tory against the Tigers.

‘‘I don’t know how play­ers re­spond, but I know one thing: We took care of busi­ness to­day and played hard,’’ Jimenez said of the Sox, who im­proved to 9-9.

In the fourth, Ed­win En­car­na­cion — who had missed six con­sec­u­tive starts with sore­ness in his SC (shoul­der) joint — kept it go­ing by hit­ting a homer to left. And Jimenez wasn’t done, slic­ing a linedrive sin­gle inside the right-field line in the sixth to score Abreu, who had sin­gled.

Jimenez’s hit widened the Sox’ lead to 6-2 af­ter a two-run homer by Austin Romine against Sox left­hander Gio Gon­za­lez in the fifth had put the Tigers on the board.

It was a much-needed vic­tory for the Sox, whose 5-1 loss Mon­day — their fifth de­feat in six games — prompted Keuchel to say they were go­ing through the mo­tions and not bring­ing it on ev­ery pitch.

‘‘It was a great meet­ing [af­ter the game Mon­day],’’ Gon­za­lez said. ‘‘We all woke up with more chip on our shoul­ders and more fight. The en­tire lineup looked great. Plays were made around the horn. It looked like a White Sox win. It was good for Dal­las to take that re­spon­si­bil­ity.’’

‘‘He’s ex­actly right,’’ catcher James Mc­Cann said of Keuchel’s com­ments. ‘‘Even in a 162-game sea­son, there has to be a sense of ur­gency. If you go through the mo­tions, you’re go­ing to end up look­ing up in Septem­ber and chas­ing the team in first place. It’s even more im­por­tant in a 60-game sea­son.’’

Gon­za­lez al­lowed two runs in 4‰ in­nings. Tak­ing no chances with hav­ing Gon­za­lez face Miguel Cabr­era for a third time, man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria lifted him in fa­vor of right-han­der Jimmy Cordero with two outs and a run­ner on shortly af­ter Romine’s homer. Cordero ended the in­ning, and right-han­der Matt Fos­ter pitched two per­fect in­nings with four strike­outs af­ter that.

Fos­ter has opened his ca­reer with 7‰ score­less in­nings and has struck out 13 of the 26 bat­ters he has faced.

Ren­te­ria has en­cour­aged his play­ers to po­lice each other since last sea­son, so he didn’t take is­sue with Keuchel’s words. Keuchel shared his con­cerns in the club­house be­fore tak­ing them to the me­dia.

‘‘It’s one of those things that you en­cour­age, you em­brace it,’’ Ren­te­ria said. ‘‘We’re in a dif­fer­ent stage in our point of growth as a club, as an or­ga­ni­za­tion. We’re want­ing to con­tinue to have guys now push each other. We’ve been pulling guys from games, talk­ing to guys, scream­ing at guys. We’ve been do­ing it for a long time now.

‘‘Ba­si­cally, play­ers have to look them­selves in the mir­ror. If you feel that you’re one of those guys that’s not giv­ing what they should be giv­ing, if you’re hon­est with your­self, you know who it is, you know who you are.’’

Af­ter Fos­ter, right-han­der Zack Burdi pitched a per­fect eighth. But right-han­der Ian Hamil­ton (two runs al­lowed) had to be res­cued by right-han­der Steve Cishek to fin­ish it off. Cishek re­tired both bat­ters he faced.

Third base­man Yoan Mon­cada, whose 21-game on-base streak came to a halt, has been deal­ing with gen­eral sore­ness — it was ap­par­ent Tues­day — and likely will be rested in the day game Wed­nes­day.

‘‘We’ve been push­ing him and push­ing him,’’ Ren­te­ria said. ‘‘Don’t be sur­prised if he’s not in the lineup.’’

GETTY IMAGES

The Sox’ Eloy Jimenez gets a high-five from team­mate Ed­win En­car­na­cion af­ter his three-run home run in the first in­ning Tues­day against the Tigers at Comer­ica Park.

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