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Brian Goodwin doesn’t feel any added pressure to deliver when he’s inserted in the cleanup spot, as he was Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.
“Just realize when you look at the guys on that scorecard, you know what they bring to the table,” Goodwin said of his Chicago White Sox teammates. “Looking one through nine, it’s a lot of hitters in there.
“Just having confidence in them like they’re having confidence in me, it doesn’t feel like I ever have to do too much. I can just be myself and the rest is going to take care of itself because everybody comes to play every day.”
Goodwin has been one of the players stepping up while others are out with injuries. The outfielder had four hits and three RBIs on Saturday in an 8-3 victory against the Orioles in front of 26,391 at Camden Yards.
“I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give,” Goodwin said. “I feel like I’ve got a lot to accomplish. I’m nowhere near where I want to be. To come out and play and have good at-bats and see some results and win some games on a great ballclub like we’ve got and a great pitching staff that we’ve got, it means a lot.”
The Sox had 13 hits and won their fourth straight. Goodwin led the way with a home run and three singles.
He signed with the organization shortly after Luis Robert’s injury in early May and joined the big-league team June 10. He’s slashing .282/.371/.541 in 24 games. Saturday was his seventh time hitting cleanup for the Sox.
“I learned a long time ago if a guy takes a really good at-bat when men are in scoring position, I’ve seen guys that get 100 RBIs and hit less than 10 home runs,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He’s got some power as he’s shown. He hits rights well and hangs in there against lefties. He’s done an outstanding job for us no matter where he hits but lately in the four spot.”
Goodwin’s home run in the second off Orioles starter Thomas Eshelman, his fourth, gave the Sox a 1-0 lead.
“I just happened to get a 3-2 slider, it hung a little bit and I put a good swing on it,” Goodwin said.
The Sox added three runs in the third. Tim Anderson, who was named as an addition to the All-Star Game on Saturday, extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI ground-rule double. He scored on a two-run double from Yoán Moncada, making it 4-0.
Goodwin had an RBI single in the fifth, and Leury García drove in a run with double, giving the Sox a 6-1 lead. Goodwin’s RBI single in the seventh made it 7-2. García drove him in with a double for one of his two RBIs.
The Sox also got solid pitching from starter Lucas Giolito, who allowed two runs and six hits with nine strikeouts and two walks in 5⅓ innings.
“I was happy with how my pitches were working through the bulk of the game, probably the first 90 pitches,” Giolito said. “I was giving up some hits but I was pleased with our sequencing and the quality of the pitches I was throwing. I just kind of lost feel there in the sixth inning.”
La Russa described Giolito’s mix of pitches as “really good.”
“As far as using all his pitches, I thought it was one of his most impressive starts,” La Russa said.
The Sox led 8-3 in the eighth, but the Orioles loaded the bases with two outs. Sox closer Liam Hendriks struck out Ryan McKenna, then struck out two of three batters in the ninth for his 23rd save.
García, Jake Burger and José Abreu each had two hits for the Sox, who have reached double figures in hits in the last three games during the winning streak. The Sox continue to build momentum as the All-Star break nears.
“We come out and play our game, it doesn’t matter who’s across the line from us,” Goodwin said. “We don’t play down to our competition, we don’t have to play up to our competition. We feel like we’re the best team every time we step between the lines, and that’s how we approach the game. We come to win and we come to play hard.”