NEW YORK – It took a while, but the first major league circuits of Eloy Jimenez were definitely worthwhile.
On the historical stage that's Yankee Stadium, the White Sox's award-winning rookie got his first goal when he lined a fast-going 2-1 ball from Yankees right-winger Jonathan Holder over the wall of the center of the field, the ball rolling at 425 feet tied 5 in the fifth inning of a 9-6 win over the White Sox shortened by the rain on Friday. Two laps later, Jimenez drew even closer to the center-left, throwing another 446-foot push on another fastball, right-handed Chad Green's.
Jimenez, who also scored in the first leg against left-handed J.A. Happ had 13 hits – including 12 singles – before starting his 12th league game.
"It feels good to go out first," Jimenez said. "A lot to come."
Jimenez became the first player to hit the first two circuits at Yankee Stadium since Manny Ramirez, who did it on the former baseball stadium in 1993.
"I did not think that," Jimenez said. "I was just thinking, win the game. We did it."
And needed badly, the victory breaking an unsightly skid of five defeats for the Sox (4-8). With his kind of special power, it only seemed like a matter of time before Jimenez showed it.
"We were waiting for that," said starting pitcher Lucas Giolito. "He has ridiculous power."
In the previous game of Sox Wednesday at the Guaranteed Rate Field, Jimenez, who signed a $ 46 million contract six years before the season, finally got his first extra shot, a double against the southpaw Rays Jalen Beeks.
There were a few hundred spectators in the stands for this one, a rather insignificant double in a 9-1 loss. In front of a paid crowd of 40,913 spectators, the goals at home meant everything, especially the first winning product, RBI, and Jimenez raised his fist to first base.
The Yankees' staff easily recovered the two balls at home because none of them landed among the seated supporters.
"I'm going to put them in my room and watch them every day," Jimenez said with a smile. "And I will also watch the bat every day."
Giolito (2-1) had his second consecutive start, the last in a series of seven in a row by Sox starters, placing the Sox (4-8) in a 4-1 hole after two innings. Both circuits Yonder Alonso against J.A. Happ in the fifth inning tied, and two batters later, Jimenez broke the tie.
After the second Jimenez circuit, James McCann hit the opposite circuit in the right field to put the Sox ahead 9-6. It was at this point that the referees suspended the game because of the rain that fell during most of the match. After 49 minutes, the match was called and made official.
"It's the worst of conditions in my life," said Giolito. "It was a dream to play at Yankee Stadium since I was little. I had not imagined it in the pouring rain. But the offense exploded and took me back. A nice team victory. "
Giolito allowed six points – four earned by Tim Anderson's third mistake – on six hits and four walks. He allowed a circuit at Brett Gardner's fourth and allowed a walk and a single to open the sixth, ending his day. His 6.19 ERA is remarkably close to his 6.13 mark on 32 starts in 2018.
But it was Jimenez to the rescue. With such high expectations, this breakthrough should help him to really relax and settle.
"Believe me, I know what it is," said Moncada, like Jimenez, a key to the Sox's future, which was the basis for the first circuit. "I know what he went through after last year. That's why I'm so happy for him.
"He has a lot of talent," said manager Rick Renteria. "It was a very good match for him. It's nice to see him. In time, he will have good and bad days. Today was a good day. "