CHICAGO (AP) — Eloy Jiménez came up in a big spot and delivered. It was exactly how he pictured the moment when he became a professional ballplayer.
With one major twist.
Jiménez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth inning in his first game against his first major league organization, helping the Chicago White Sox beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Tuesday night.
The 22-year-old Jiménez was a top prospect for the Cubs before he headlined a rare trade with the White Sox for veteran left-hander José Quintana in July 2017. The Jiménez deal will live on in sports bars all over Chicago for many years to come, and the rookie added another wrinkle with one big swing in his first game at Wrigley Field.
“It was a dream come true,” he said. “I wanted to hit one at Wrigley, but now with the White Sox it feels really good.”
James McCann hit a leadoff single before Jiménez drove a 1-0 pitch from Pedro Strop (1-3) over the wall in left for his 12th homer . Considered one of baseball’s top young sluggers, Jiménez has gone deep six times in his last nine games.
“We were hoping he could get a pitch he could handle and obviously he did,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It was a big blow.”
Adding another layer to the accomplishment, Jiménez cracked his bat on the swing. He smiled as he proudly displayed the broken lumber after the victory.
“It was an amazing moment,” he said.
Evan Marshall (3-0) got two outs for the win and Alex Colomé worked the ninth for his 15th save. Four White Sox relievers combined for four scoreless innings after Iván Nova turned in one of his best starts of the season.
The slumping Cubs kicked off a 10-game homestand with their fourth loss in five games. Kyle Schwarber connected for his 16th homer and Cole Hamels pitched seven effective innings, but that was it for the North Siders.
“We just have to do a better job offensively,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Hamels became the 10th left-hander with 2,500 career strikeouts when he threw a called third strike past Nova for the first out of the third . The crowd of 41,192 responded with a big cheer when his accomplishment was displayed on the videoboard, and Hamels tipped his cap in appreciation.
“To do it in front of fans that really understand and get it, that’s a very special moment,” Hamels said.
Jiménez had a chance to get the White Sox off to a fast start when he batted with the bases loaded in the first. But Hamels got him to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
Schwarber then lined Nova’s first pitch of the game into the bleachers in left for his fourth career leadoff homer . He also started Thursday’s 7-3 loss to the Dodgers with a home run on Clayton Kershaw’s first pitch.
The White Sox tied it in the sixth. Leury García led off with a double and Tim Anderson followed with a hard grounder into the hole at shortstop. Javier Báez made a sliding stop, but he threw wild to first and García hustled home on the error.
Craig Kimbrel took another step toward joining the Cubs when he worked a perfect inning in his first appearance with Triple-A Iowa. The 31-year-old Kimbrel is ramping up after finalizing a three-year contract with Chicago on June 7. The closer could pitch in another minor league game Thursday or Friday.
White Sox: INF Yoán Moncada entered as a defensive replacement in the sixth after his recent trouble with upper back tightness flared up during Sunday’s 10-3 loss to the Yankees. Moncada had missed the previous four games before returning for the series finale against New York. ... C Welington Castillo was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique. LH reliever Jace Fry was reinstated from the IL after being sidelined by shoulder soreness, and catching prospect Zack Collins was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte.
Cubs: General manager Jed Hoyer said the team will use a patient approach with Kyle Hendricks after tests confirmed the right-hander is dealing with a shoulder impingement. Hendricks was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday, one day after he permitted five runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss to NL West-leading Los Angeles. Tyler Chatwood will take Hendricks’ turn in the rotation Thursday against the Mets.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (10-1, 2.22 ERA) looks to continue his win streak when he faces struggling Cubs left-hander Jon Lester (5-5, 4.08 ERA) on Wednesday night. Giolito is 8-0 with a sparkling 0.94 ERA in his last eight starts. Lester surrendered a season-high three homers in a 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.
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