CHICAGO | Miguel Cairo is still getting used to running the Chicago White Sox while Tony La Russa is away.
With Chicago trying to close out Colorado on Tuesday night, Cairo felt the pressure.
“When you have one- or two-run leads, you don’t feel comfortable,” he said.
But he felt pretty good when it was over.
Cairo guided the White Sox to another victory, riding home runs by Eloy Jiménez and José Abreu to a 4-2 win against the Rockies.
Michael Kopech pitched five effective innings as Chicago remained three games back of AL Central-leading Cleveland, which rallied for a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels. Elvis Andrus added two hits, and Liam Hendriks handled the ninth for his 33rd save.
“We got a lot of work to do still,” Kopech said. “If we can scrap out wins like we did tonight, then I think it’ll be a fun next couple weeks.”
The White Sox improved to 10-4 since Cairo stepped in for La Russa, who is awaiting clearance to return to the dugout after dealing with a heart issue. The 77-year-old La Russa was at the ballpark, but it was Cairo’s lineup card once again.
“Today I’m the manager. Tomorrow I don’t know,” said Cairo, a former big league infielder who usually serves as La Russa’s bench coach. “But that’s in my job right now and I’m glad he’s around because I always ask him questions about what I could have done better or different or stuff like that.”
Alan Trejo hit a two-run homer for last-place Colorado in the club’s first game at Guaranteed Rate Field since 2008.
Chad Kuhl (6-9) got off to a rough start, and the Rockies never recovered. With one out and runners on the corners in the first, Jiménez drove a 1-0 slider deep to center for his 13th homer.
Kuhl bent over on the mound as Jiménez’s shot soared through the night. But the right-hander shut down Chicago from there, tossing 6 1/3 innings of six-hit ball.
“Impressive how he came back in and really settled in,” Colorado manager Bud Black said.
Jiménez is batting .500 (14 for 28) with four homers and 12 RBIs in his last seven games.
“I just feel good because if I swing at strikes, it’s going to be better,” he said. “I know I have power to just hit on the barrel and the ball is going to be out. I just try to be a hitter first and then become a power hitter.”
Kopech (5-9) allowed two runs and three hits in his first win since July 26. Jimmy Lambert surrendered two singles in the sixth, but he escaped the jam when Brendan Rodgers flied to center.
Reynaldo López and Kendall Graveman each got three outs before Hendriks finished the five-hitter.
Chicago got a valuable insurance run in the eighth when Abreu hit a leadoff drive to left-center against Justin Lawrence. It was the first homer for the 2020 AL MVP since Aug. 3 and No. 15 on the season.
Rockies: SS José Iglesias (right hand contusion) is improving, according to Black, but there is no timeline for his return. Black said they have to make sure he is “comfortable and confident” with his grip strength. … INF/OF Kris Bryant (plantar fasciitis in left foot) is throwing and taking swings again, but Black said he isn’t sure if he will be able to return this season.
White Sox: All-Star SS Tim Anderson has been cleared to begin ramping up his baseball activity. He had surgery last month to repair a tear on the middle finger of his left hand. … CF Luis Robert returned to the starting lineup after missing five games because of left wrist soreness.
White Sox ace Dylan Cease (14-6, 2.06 ERA) goes for his third straight win on Wednesday. The right-hander has allowed just two runs and six hits in his last 23 innings. Kyle Freeland (8-9, 4.63 ERA) starts for the Rockies. The lefty tossed six innings of one-run ball in an 8-4 victory over Milwaukee last week.