Hitting hasn’t been a problem for the Chicago White Sox.
They got the equalizing shot in an 11-5 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday in front of 21,162 at PNC Park.
Mike Clevinger pitched into the sixth inning and the bullpen did the rest to even the series at one game apiece.
“It was a very good day as a team,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “The (starter) pitching was good, the bullpen was good and the hitting was really good and we ran the bases really well.”
The Sox got production across the lineup, finishing with 14 hits. Four of the top five players in the batting order — Tim Anderson, Luis Robert Jr., Andrew Benintendi and Andrew Vaughn — had two hits. The same was done by batters 7 and 8, Yasmani Grandal and Oscar Colás.
The Sox have had at least 10 hits in eight of their nine games.
“We have been able to come together and improve each other,” Anderson said. “We do our homework and we come up with a plan and we stick to it, and it has worked for us, so we hope to continue to build on that momentum.”
Grandal, Colás and No. 9 hitter Elvis Andrus each had two RBIs, as did Robert.
The Sox had a four-run third inning, which included a two-run single by Grandal. And they had a five-run seventh inning that featured Robert’s two-run single.
“The bottom of the order had six RBIs,” Grifol said. “Our lineup is deep. When the bottom of the order is performing like this and the top of the order has the capacity that it has, it’s going to be hard for either.
“The most important thing for me is that we ran the bases very well, we narrowed down the strike zone. We put the ball in play, walked six. We left the (at-bat) for the next guy. We did our walks. Save it for the next guy. This lineup is deep and part of the advantages of having a deep lineup is that you know what you take your tickets and leave for the next one and that’s what we did.
Clevinger didn’t mind waiting through a long top of the third to get back on the mound.
“(Benintendi) was going, ‘Man, you had to wait a while,’” Clevinger said. “I was like, ‘Make me wait as long as possible.'”
Clevinger allowed four runs and eight hits with one strikeout and two walks in 5⅓ innings. He provided some time after the Red Sox starters failed to reach at least fifth in three of the previous four games.
“It was a battle,” he said. “Some struggle to get the heater to work properly. She was leaking a bit. A very good defense behind me. And (Grandal) working behind the plate. Lucky to have this offense behind me to make it more comfortable.”
Said Grifol of Clevinger: “He hits the strike zone. He loves to compete. He goes straight to these guys.”
Kelly relieved Clevinger, entering with a runner on second and one out in the sixth and the Sox leading 6-4. Kelly induced a groundout and strikeout to preserve the two-run lead.
“Kelly came in a difficult situation and did what Kelly does,” Grifol said. “Kelly has the ability to slow him down and she has great things to add to that. She is very good at it.
“That was a great entrance. He closed the door and gave us a chance to get back on the offensive end and put some runs on the scoreboard.”
The Sox had five straight hits during the five-run seventh inning to put the game out of reach. Aaron Bummer, Kendall Graveman and Reynaldo Lopez combined to allow one run and two hits over the final three innings, striking out four.
“It was a very good day offensively, but I was very proud of our shot,” Grifol said. “Clevinger did a very good job and our bullpen is very, very good. They showed today what they are capable of”.