CINCINNATI (AP) — Tim Anderson hit two of Chicago’s five solo homers, and the White Sox — already guaranteed a playoff spot — took another step toward the AL Central title by overpowering the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday night.
Chicago has won eight of its last 10 games, securing at least a wild card and its first postseason appearance since 2008.
“Just ride the wave now because this team has been fun to watch,” said Nomar Mazara, who started the homer spree.
José Abreu hit his fifth homer in eight games as the White Sox piled them up, including three in a row in the eighth off Robert Stephenson. Abreu has 18 homers overall.
The Reds managed six hits as they had their season-high winning streak snapped at six games. Cincinnati (26-27) wasted a chance to move above .500 for the first time since its season-opening win over the Tigers.
They fell a game behind St. Louis for second place in the NL Central as the Cardinals rallied to beat the Pirates 5-4.
“Sorry, I’m a little testy tonight,” said Trevor Bauer, who gave up the first two homers. “It sucks. I hate losing, especially in those situations.”
Mazara was in a 3-for-25 slump with 11 strikeouts when he connected off Bauer (4-4) in the fifth inning for his first homer.
“Oh man, I think everybody was waiting for that moment,” Mazara said. “It felt good.”
Anderson connected again in the eighth off Stephenson, and Yasmani Grandal and Abreu followed with homers during a seven-pitch sequence. It was the second time this season that the White Sox hit three homers in a row.
“It was the ice breaker to pull away a little more,” Anderson said. “To go back-to-back-to-back, that says a lot about our lineup and what we can do when we’re clicking.”
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel went four innings in his return from back spasms and allowed four hits while fanning seven. Keuchel threw 75 pitches in his first start since Sept. 6. The Reds stranded five in scoring position against the left-hander.
“I felt as expected — really rusty,” Keuchel said. “It felt foreign on the mound.”
Matt Foster (5-0) retired the six batters he faced in relief of Keuchel.
The Reds had a moment of silence pregame for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday.
ANDERSON VS. BAUER
Anderson had a .172 career batting average against Bauer without a homer when he connected.
“I was so happy to finally get him,” Anderson said. “I had to let him know. He knows I got it. I told him to put it on his YouTube channel as well.”
Said Bauer: “Tell TA he’s soft for not bat-flipping it.”
Anderson is batting .426 (29 for 68) in September. He went 2 for 4 Saturday, raising his average to .368 for the season. It was his second multihomer game this season.
Keuchel hasn’t allowed a run in the first or second inning during of any of his 10 starts this season. He got four called strikeouts in the first two innings Saturday.
White Sox: Keuchel was reinstated from the 10-day injured list and Jonathan Stiever was optioned to Chicago’s alternate training site. Stiever gave up four homers in 2 2/3 innings of a 7-1 loss on Friday night.