Tony La Russa was in the visitors’ dugout, absorbed in the scene as the Chicago White Sox celebrated their first AL Central title since 2008.
The pilot, enshrined in the Hall of Fame, had ended his retirement to enjoy this moment.
“It’s like fantasy island because I never thought I’d get this chance, and here we are, we’re division champions,” La Russa said after Thursday’s 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 1. of a double billboard.
“I am happy that the players won the first match of the day without delay. They did it the first time they got the chance ”.
Already relaxed, the White Sox later fell 5-3 in the second game.
Chicago, which reached the postseason with a wild-card berth last season, is going to the playoffs for the first time in a row. The White Sox are in their first season under Tony La Russa, who will turn 77 on October 4.
La Russa had retired from baseball after guiding St. Louis to the World Series title in 2011 and was hired to replace Rick Renteria last October.
“I think we have the right driver,” said Tim Anderson, who hit two home runs. “I am satisfied with how he has handled everything and has been part of the family. It’s a blessing to have come out and won the title today. “
Chicago (86-67) moved into the divisional first place once and for all on May 7. The White Sox had not advanced to the postseason since winning the 2005 World Series and last hosted a playoff game at home 13 years ago.
Anderson hit his fifth homer as the first bae in the opening inning of the season and hit another three-run homer in the second for his sixth homerun game. With consecutive homers by Cuban Luis Robert and Dominican Eloy Jiménez in the second inning, Chicago led 7-0 against pitcher Aaron Civale (11-5).
Aaron Bummer (4-5) pitched the fifth inning and retired three batters. Four White Sox relievers shared the mound three two-thirds innings in a game cut to seven innings due to pandemic provisions.
In the night game, Oscar Mercado broke the tie 3-3 with a home run in the seventh inning, for Cleveland to split honors in the doubleheader.
Never before had the Colombian ended an encounter with a home run. This time he did it against Venezuelan José Ruiz (1-3).
The White Sox trailed 3-2 at the start of the seventh inning, but had three hits against Emmanuel Clase (4-5), who nevertheless took the win.
Gavin Sheets scored when Cesar Hernandez hit for a force out.
In the matinee, for the White Sox, the Dominicans Leury García 4-2 with scored run, Eloy Jiménez 4-1 with scored and RBI. Venezuelan César Hernández 3-3 with scored. Cubans Luis Robert 3-2 with scored and RBIs, José Abreu 2-0, Yoán Moncada 3-0 with scored, and Yasmani Grandal 4-0.
For the Indians, the Dominicans Franmil Reyes 3-1, and José Ramírez 2-0. The Colombian Harold Ramírez 3-0. Venezuelan Andrés Giménez 3-1.
In the second game, for the White Sox, the Venezuelan César Hernández 4-0. Dominican Leury Garcia 4-2 with a run scored. The Cuban Yasmani Grandal 3-2 with a scored.
For the Indians, Colombian Oscar Mercado 4-1 with one run scored and two RBIs. The Dominicans José Ramírez 2-0 with a scored, Franmil Reyes 2-1. The Venezuelan Andrés Giménez without an official turn but with one scored. Puerto Rican Roberto Pérez cde 3-0. (AP)