Vaughn hits grand slam as White Sox beat Tigers 11-5

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two
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DETROIT – Andrew Vaughn hit his first career grand slam, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 11-5 on Sunday.

Eloy Jimenez and AJ Pollock also connected as Chicago won for the third time in four games. Jimenez finished with three hits and three RBIs, and Gavin Sheets had two hits and two RBIs.

“This road trip has been very driven in the right direction,” Chicago right-hander Vince Velasquez said. “We’re taking the right steps to do some damage against Cleveland at home.”

The White Sox are trying to catch the AL Central-leading Guardians, but they are running out of time. They trail Cleveland by 3 1/2 games after the Guardians lost 3-0 to Minnesota.

Chicago hosts Cleveland on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series.

“It’s September – everybody’s tired, everybody’s legs are hurting and bodies are sore,” Vaughn said. “But we just have to give it our all, every day, no matter what you’ve got.”

The White Sox improved to 12-4 against the last-place Tigers in the season series. The teams play again in Chicago next weekend.

The reigning AL Central champions grabbed control with five runs in the fifth. Sheets snapped a tie with a bases-loaded walk against Drew Hutchison (2-9), and Vaughn made it 7-2 when he drove a 1-2 slider from James Foley deep to left-center for his team-high 17th homer.

“That (home run) was big,” White Sox acting manager Miguel Cairo said. “With a short-handed bullpen, it was nice to put up a big number right away and give a breather to the bullpen.”

The White Sox (76-71) have recorded 31 homers in their last 19 games. They are 27-5 when they hit at least two homers.

The Tigers rallied in the sixth. Jimmy Lambert replaced Jose Ruiz with the bases loaded and no outs, and then brought home a run when he issued a four-pitch pitch to Kerry Carpenter.

But Lambert retired the next three batters. Eric Haase popped out, Jeimer Candelario hit a sacrifice fly and pinch-hitter Harold Castro struck out swinging.

“He’s been doing that all year round since he joined the bullpen,” Cairo said. “He’s been the guy to come in and shut down innings. That was our plan.”

Chicago then got three runs in the seventh. With Jose Abreu aboard after a leadoff walk, Jimenez greeted Garrett Hill with a 450-foot drive to straightaway center.

“I was about to go on-deck and it sounded like a gunshot,” Vaughn said. “That one was special. He can hit some baseballs far.”

Jimenez added an RBI double in the eighth. He is 17 for 43 with five homers and 16 RBIs over the last 11 games.

Willi Castro hit a two-run homer for Detroit in the first, and Javier Baez added a solo shot in the eighth. Baez was back in the lineup at designated hitter after dealing with swelling in his knee after an awkward play at the plate Friday.

Hutchison was charged with six runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings in front of a crowd of 14,435. He has just one win in his last 13 starts.

“There’s a fine line there between pitching aggressively but also giving yourself a chance to get out of that (fifth) inning,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “And that inning kept building and building, and it obviously exploded.”

Velasquez allowed two runs and three hits in four innings in his first start since June 9. Velasquez was pressed into action because Johnny Cueto is dealing with an illness.

“Giving up a home run, I take full blame for that, but once I settled down and started figuring it out, it was a good, easy and smooth ride,” Velasquez said. “You just always have to be alert.”

Tanner Banks (2-0) pitched three innings for the win.

“It’s been so awesome to see our bullpen,” Cairo said. “Everyone is contributing. And everyone in the lineup is doing the little things to win ballgames.”

ROSTER MOVE

The White Sox placed reliever Joe Kelly on the family medical leave list. Banks was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: CF Luis Robert (hand) was held out of the lineup as a precaution. Cairo said Robert could return Tuesday. … RHP Michael Kopech (shoulder), who was placed on the 15-day IL on Saturday, said he was shut down as a precaution and hopes to return before the end of the season.

UP NEXT

White Sox: There was no word on a starting pitcher for either team for Tuesday. Chicago’s pitching plan remains in flux after Cueto got sick.

Tigers: LHP Tyler Alexander (3-10, 5.35 ERA) will start the series opener in Baltimore on Monday. RHP Tyler Wells (7-6, 3.93 ERA) pitches for the Orioles.

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.