Andrew Vaughn of the Chicago White Sox hits a two run fifth inning home run against the Tigers in Detroit. (Getty Images)
DETROIT — The term “slump” was presented to first baseman Andrew Vaughn before the game.
“I don’t like to call it that,” Vaughn said.
“That” was the 7-for-44 stretch Vaughn was in.
This is what he did to put it behind him: A two-run homer against Mason Englert, his sixth of the year, and an RBI double, adding to his team leading 34 RBI, in the White Sox’ 12-3 victory over the Tigers Friday at Comerica Park.
Andrew Benintendi, Clint Frazier and Yoan Moncada gave the Sox three triples in a game for the first time since 2017, Tim Anderson had four hits and right-hander Lance Lynn survived throwing 56 pitches in the first two innings to complete six innings of three-run (one earned) ball as the Sox won for the sixth time in eight games.
“It’s baseball, there are so many ups and downs,” Vaughn said. “When you’re going good, everyone knows what that feels like and when you’re not going as good, they know what that feels like, too. You just try to stay in the middle, try to keep the ebbs and flows as smooth as possible.”
The Sox (22-31) have been down and up and are 8-3 on a 13-game stretch through the AL Central with two more games against the Tigers (23-26) this weekend as they try to establish themselves as a player in a winnable division.
They are still clawing back from a 7-21 start.
“That was one of the toughest stretches in baseball I’ve ever seen,” Vaughn said. “A lot of our guys felt it and we just pushed through and came out on the other side. We’ve just got to keep going and keep playing.”
Expectations for Vaughn, replacing Jose Abreu at first base, have been lofty. So he has been quietly shouldering that as well.
“If you talk to him he’ll be the first one to tell you he’s not swinging it like he wants to,” manager Pedro Grifol said before the game. “Like many of our guys, they’re one swing away, one at-bat away from locking in and being really good for a long period of time. Just like he was early on in the season when he really was swinging it well and feeling good.”
Surviving shaky defensive support and a number of missed called strikes by umpire Alan Porter, Lynn (4-5, 5.83) allowed three hits and five walks while striking out five to improve to 6-0 in his last six starts against the Tigers.
The Sox had 17 hits, including three each by Tim Anderson and Moncada, who drove in three runs. Moncada made two defensive miscues in the first inning without getting charged for an error.
After two labor-intensive innings, Lynn did well to complete six.
“The old body gets moving and you get [ticked] off a little bit and things start happening,” Lynn said.
Lynn had reasons to be frustrated, including the defense, Porter’s inconsistent zone and the walks. But Grifol called it Lynn’s best outing of the year.
“To be honest it was a frustrating evening when you get three runs in the first and you load the bases, but all in all they scored a bunch of runs for me and played good defense,” Lynn said. “I have to be more efficient and not walk as many people.”
As he often does, Lynn yelled into his glove or into open space for all to see, depending on the moment.
“He’s the hardest on himself. He really is,” Vaughn said. “He wants to be a perfectionist, as all pitchers do. He misses a pitch, he gets mad about it. He makes a pitch, he gets excited about it. It’s really cool to see. It’s how baseball should be, should be having fun.”