AJ Pollock hit a chopper to third with two outs in the eighth inning Monday against the Houston Astros.
Alex Bregman charged but couldn’t come up with the ball, and Pollock reached on an infield hit.
It was the beginning of a big rally for the Chicago White Sox.
Pollock advanced to third on Andrew Vaughn’s double to right and scored on Eloy Jiménez’s game-tying two-run double to left. The Sox pulled ahead later in the inning on Yoán Moncada’s two-run single to center.
Pollock had two hits in the 4-2 win. It was his third straight two-hit game as he fills in at the top of the order for injured shortstop Tim Anderson.
Pollock had three hits, an RBI and a run Aug. 7 against the Texas Rangers in his first game in the leadoff spot with Anderson out, first with a two-game suspension and then the hand injury. And Pollock has continued to hit.
He led off Saturday with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly, and he added a solo home run in the eighth in a 6-4 win against the Detroit Tigers.
He homered Sunday leading off the third, then doubled in the fifth and scored the tying run in a 5-3 victory against the Tigers.
Pollock went 11-for-28 with four doubles, two home runs, four RBIs and six runs in his first seven games with Anderson out. He slashed .393/.438/.750 during the stretch.
“Honestly it’s weird when you look at the numbers,” Pollock said before Monday’s game. “For me, they are pretty skewed, but I don’t know if that’s a freak thing or what.”
Pollock entered Tuesday’s must-see pitching matchup between Dylan Cease and Astros veteran Justin Verlander slashing .397/.435/.641 in 18 games this season in the No. 1 slot.
“It really shouldn’t matter,” Pollock said of the spot in the lineup. “As a hitter you prepare the same way. Maybe get things going a little bit quicker when you are in the leadoff spot. But other than that, nothing really changes.”
He was 31-for-78 with seven doubles, four home runs, 12 RBIs and 14 runs in those 18 games.
“You look at his credentials,” La Russa said Sunday. “He’s a quality big-league hitter and big-league defender. He saw the need when Tim was missing. If he had to hit second, third or fourth, he’d do that too.”
Overall, Pollock is slashing .246/.295/.378 with 20 doubles, seven home runs, 39 RBIs and 40 runs in 95 games.
He was back in the top spot and playing center field Tuesday. It was his 12th start in center this season, with 60 in left and 10 in right.
Starting center fielder Luis Robert continues to recover from a sprained left wrist suffered Friday against the Tigers while attempting to steal second base.
La Russa said before Tuesday’s game the key is Robert making improvement with his swing.
“Everything else is ready to play,” La Russa said. “He was not near enough to 100% to play this game (Tuesday), but he’s doing treatment and we’re anxious to see the swings he takes.”
La Russa does not see a need for Robert to go on the injured list.
“He may play as early as (Wednesday) or sometime in the next couple of days,” La Russa said. “He’s feeling better, he’s just got to take swings.”
As for Anderson, the Sox shortstop is sidelined for six weeks after tearing the sagittal band on his left middle finger Aug. 6 against the Rangers.
“He’s a quick healer,” La Russa said. “He’s always been ‘sooner rather than later,’ but he still has a cast on his finger. (It) doesn’t come off until Thursday. I think once he starts getting functional, it’ll happen pretty fast. Not real fast, just faster than normal.”