CHICAGO – Once the White Sox game against the Yankees ended on Sunday, a lot of the attention to the biggest prospect on the team – and it made sense.
Eloy Jimenez was once on the Cubs, but a trade sent him to the south side in 2017, giving the White Sox rebuild a major piece moving forward. It happened before the outfielder could make an appearance in the blue pinstripes at Wrigley Field, so the first city series game on Tuesday would be Jimenez's first time at the venue.
He was asked a number of times between Sunday and Tuesday what it would like to go to the ballpark where the initial plan was to have him play for the home team. Jimenez said a few times that he didn't know what to expect, shrugging off the significance of his first game at Wrigley Field.
"I don't know," said Jimenez when asked about the reception he might get from the fans in the bleachers. “I know I'm gonna hear 'you suck' a lot.”
As it turns out, it had the perfect response for those rooters in the ninth inning, and in the process created quite a narrative for the first of four Cubs-Sox games.
With the game set at one in the ninth, Jimenez smacked a two-run homer off Pedro Strop in the left field bleachers to give the White Sox a 3-1 win on Tuesday evening. It was the 12th homer of his rookie season and perhaps the most satisfying, as it gave him his first win over his form team to start a quick two-game series.
It also gets the White Sox back within a game at. 500 while sending the rival Cubs to their second-straight defeat. Meanwhile, the gift Jimenez is a big smile that was on his face when he got back to the White Sox dugout and stayed there in postgame interviews.
"I can't explain it right now," said the soft-spoken yet smiling Jimenez when asked how he felt after the homer. "It was really good."
Jimenez's ninth-inning blast is arguably the most memorable City Series moment to date for the White Sox since their rebuild started back in 2017. It followed a single by James McCann, who had a pair of hits on the night, and came on the second pitch he saw from Strop.
Jimenez cracked his bat when he hit it, but the ball still had plenty of power to carry a few rows up into the bleachers.
It's an amazing moment, I just tried to hit a line drive up the middle, and it went over the fence, ”said Jimenez, who showed off the broken bat to reporters after the game. "It's just amazing."
It was only the second scoring play of the night, with the first coming on a Tim Anderson infield single in the sixth in which an anniversary throw by Javier Baez allowed Leury Garcia to come in and score. White Sox pitching did their job on the night, as Kyle Schwarber's leadoff was the only run allowed by starting Ivan Nova while four bullpen pitchers shutout the final four innings.
All of that led to Jimenez's big moment against the Cubs and it continues to be an incredible month for the outfielder. Jimenez's homer was the sixth in the month of June as his RBI totaling up to 14 as he was hitting over .320 in 14 games.
But this moment was the sweetest of them all, and in the ninth inning the "You Suck "Chants that Jimenez said he heard at times during the game disappeared from the bleachers for good." "There were a lot of White Sox fans over there and they started saying" You're the best and I was so happy for that, "said Jimenez.
It's safe to say the feeling is mutual as they watched the young prospect reach his potential in the silver and black at the Friendly Confines.