Tim Anderson ranged to his left to field P.J. Higgins’ grounder in the fifth inning of Sunday’s City Series game against the Chicago Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The White Sox shortstop made the throw to first and fell to the ground in obvious pain.
A hush went over the sellout crowd of 38,080. Teammates circled Anderson in shallow center field. He needed the training staff’s assistance to exit the game.
Anderson became the latest key Sox player to suffer an injury this season as he left with a strained right groin.
The Sox found a way to rally without their offensive spark plug, beating the Cubs 5-4 in 12 innings. Third baseman Jake Burger knocked in Danny Mendick with a single to end the marathon game.
“I make (a fielding) error in the seventh that cost a run for us,” Burger said. “I’m just glad I got the chance to redeem myself a little bit.”
Now the question becomes how long the Sox will be without Anderson.
“It’s devastating,” Burger said. “You saw all nine guys out there around him. He’s such a leader and such an impactful person in this clubhouse that it will be tough. But he’ll always be with us no matter what it is.”
Anderson will undergo further evaluation Monday. Sox manager Tony La Russa said Anderson will head to the injured list.
“That’s typical, he goes on the IL making a great play at the time we needed it,” La Russa said.
Anderson, who was an All-Star for the first time in his career last season, entered Sunday third in the American League with a .354 batting average. He was tied for second on the team with five home runs and tied for first with 19 RBIs.
“This guy is as good as any player in the game at that position in all regards,” La Russa said. “We’re not nearly as good without him, but we’re going to have to be good enough to win.”
That was the case Sunday.
After being held in check by Marcus Stroman, who allowed three hits in seven shutout innings, the Sox tied the game at 1 in the ninth when AJ Pollock scored on a wild pitch by David Robertson.
The Cubs scored twice in the 10th, only for the Sox to come back with two in the bottom of the inning. Both teams scored once in the 11th.
The Sox thought they had won in the 11th when Adam Engel raced home after Robert Gsellman’s throw to first hit Leury García. Umpires called García out on batter interference, and Engel had to go back to second.
“(Plate umpire) Ted (Barrett) said at some point (García) has to get on the other side of that line,” La Russa said. “I guarantee he knows the rules better than I do.”
The Cubs came up empty in the top of the 12th, and Burger’s winning hit off Gsellman came with one out in the bottom of the inning as the teams split the two-game series.
“I was stepping in the box with my plan and they bring in the fifth infielder,” Burger said. “I made eye contact with Danny Mendick at third base and we both just started laughing because I hadn’t seen that in a while, and that kind of relaxed me a little bit.
“I just wanted to see something up and try to get something to the outfield, and sure enough, it was the first pitch.”
The Sox won three of four in this year’s City Series after sweeping two games May 3-4 at Wrigley Field.
“When is the last time you’ve played that many innings with a runner on second base?” Mendick said. “You win a ballgame like that where you bust your butt, it makes you feel good when you go home.”
The Sox are back at .500 (23-23) heading into a six-game trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay beginning Tuesday.
They’ll be without Anderson, who joins a list of sidelined Sox players that includes pitcher Lance Lynn (right knee surgery) and outfielder Eloy Jiménez (torn right hamstring tendon). Lynn and Jiménez are rehabbing with Triple-A Charlotte.
“Nobody wants to see Timmy go down,” Mendick said. “He’s the captain of the team. So everyone has to pick him up.”