Tim Anderson moved wide to his left to field PJ Higgins’ grounder in the fifth inning of Sunday’s City Series game against the Chicago Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The White Sox shortstop threw first and fell to the ground in obvious pain.
A silence passed over the sold-out crowd of 38,080. His teammates circled Anderson in shallow center field. He needed the coaching staff’s help to get out of the game.
Anderson became the latest key Sox player to be injured 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 hit Danny Mendick with a single to end the marathon game.
“I make a (fielding) mistake in the seventh that cost us a point,” Burger said. “I’m just glad I had the chance to redeem myself a bit.”
Now the question is how long the Sox will be without Anderson.
“It’s devastating,” Burger said. “You saw the nine guys around him. He is such a leader and such an influential person at this club that it will be difficult. But he will always be with us, no matter what.
Anderson will undergo a further evaluation on Monday. Sox manager Tony La Russa said Anderson will be heading to the injured list.
“It’s typical, he continues on the IL making a great play when we needed it,” La Russa said.
Anderson, who was an All-Star for the first time in his career last season, entered the American League third Sunday with a .354 batting average. He was tied for second on the team with five homers and tied for first with 19 RBIs.
“This guy is as good as any player in the game in this position in every way,” La Russa said. “We’re not as good without him, but we’ll have to be good enough to win.”
This was the case on 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 David Robertson pitch.
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 came home from Robert Gsellman’s pitch to first hit Leury García. The umpires called García for batter interference, and Engel had to drop back to second.
“(The set referee) Ted (Barrett) said that at some point (García) had to cross that line,” La Russa said. “I guarantee you he knows the rules better than me.”
The Cubs went empty in the top of the 12th, and Burger’s game-winning shot against Gsellman came with a late-inning strikeout as the teams split the two-game series.
“I was going into 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 started laughing because I hadn’t seen that in a while, and that kinda relaxed me.
“I just wanted to see something and try to bring something into the outfield, and of course that was the first pitch.”
The Sox have won three of four games in this year’s City Series after sweeping two games May 3-4 at Wrigley Field.
“When was the last time you played that many innings with a runner on second base? Mendick said. “You win a football game like that where you break your ass, it feels good when you come home.”
The Sox are back at .500 (23-23) heading into a six-game trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay starting Tuesday.
They’ll be without Anderson, who joins a sidelined Sox roster that includes pitcher Lance Lynn (right knee surgery) and outfielder Eloy Jiménez (torn right hamstring tendon). Lynn and Jiménez are in rehab with Triple-A Charlotte.
“Nobody wants to see Timmy fall,” Mendick said. “He’s the captain of the team. So everyone has to pick it up.