Home News Luis Robert Jr. hits two home runs in win over Red Sox

Luis Robert Jr. hits two home runs in win over Red Sox

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CHICAGO — Luis Robert Jr. homered twice and the White Sox broke a four-series losing streak with a 4-1 victory, their second straight over the Red Sox, on Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.

After Robert’s top-notch performance, which included three hits, three RBIs and his requisite two difficult-turned-routine catches in center field, White Sox manager Pedro Grifol made his strongest statement possible in regard to the 25-year-old taking part in his first career All-Star Game.

“There’s no doubt in my mind this guy is an All-Star. No doubt,” Grifol said. “I don’t know who needs to hear it, but this guy is an All-Star.”

“It’s crazy. The amount of power he’s got in such a simple swing, it’s fun to watch for sure,” said White Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi, who drove in the team’s third run with a fifth-inning double. “Half the time he can probably cover more ground than anybody out there. Left-center, right-center, he can go get it. He makes it look easy, so it’s fun to watch.

The in-house support probably is appreciated by Robert, but his résumé already speaks volumes. His fifth career multihomer game and second this season gave him 21 home runs overall, which ranks second in the American League behind Shohei Ohtani, who Robert will see in the opposing lineup this week at Angel Stadium and on the mound Tuesday.

Robert also has 41 extra-base hits (20 doubles), which is second behind Ohtani as well. The 160 total bases place him third, as does a .559 slugging percentage. So, how does Robert feel about his chances to make the trip to Seattle on July 9? It’s all part of the process for the talented right-handed hitter.

“It will be a good accomplishment, but that’s not my primary goal,” Robert said through interpreter Billy Russo. “I want to carry this team to the playoffs and hopefully to the World Series. But it would definitely be an accomplishment if I’m selected to the All-Star Game.”

With the White Sox trailing, 1-0, in the fourth, Robert connected for a two-run blast off Boston starter Kutter Crawford that had a 105.4 exit velocity, per Statcast. The 398-foot drive ended a stretch of 15 of 16 White Sox homers of the solo variety.

In the sixth, Robert Jr. connected for a solo homer down the left-field line, also off Crawford.

“Just got to make a little bit better pitches,” Crawford said. “The first one to Robert kind of stayed too middle. [The second homer], I was trying to go back inside. Left it probably lower than I wanted to. I thought it was a pretty decent pitch, and he put a good swing on it.”

“If he hits pitches in the strike zone, he’s going to do unbelievable damage, and that’s what he’s done the last few days,” Grifol said. “He’s hunting for offspeeds up, he’s hitting fastballs, he’s not chasing as much. He’s a really damn good player. And he’s still 25 years old, so he’s still learning the game.”

Right-hander Jesse Scholtens earned his first career victory, hurling four scoreless innings in relief of Tanner Banks and tallying three strikeouts. Meanwhile, cutting down the chasing out of the zone has helped Robert bounce back from a tough March/April, during which he slashed .213/.254/.407 with five homers and 13 RBIs in 28 games.

There’s no coincidence that the White Sox also struggled during that first month. But Robert hopes his continued excellence at the plate and in the field will help them climb out of the early hole they dug in the American League Central.

“If we are able to be consistent in the second half, I think we can make it,” Robert said. “These last games of the first half are very important for us. We want to try to finish strong and carry that momentum into the second half.”

“We know where we’re at, we know where we’ve got to get, we know what we’re trying to do. Every win is critical,” Grifol said. “The one yesterday was really good, the one today was even better. We’re playing a pretty good team and today we pitched, hit some homers, and we were clean on defense. Tough to beat when we do that.”

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