Andrew Benintendi caps his career night with a walk-off home run

White Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi finally got a break.

Benintendi, who struggled at the plate and in the field all season, had two home runs, including the walk-off homer in the Sox’ 8-7 victory over the Rays. The wind played a small role in the home run as it carried it just over the guardrails in the outfield.

The veteran outfielder had his third multi-hit game of the season and possibly a breakthrough moment.

Saturday marked a series of firsts: It was the first time the Sox won consecutive games all season, Benintendi’s first walk-off home run of his career and the Sox’ first series win of the season.

The fans in attendance were active all evening, providing a lively atmosphere that was missing during the team’s battle.

Saturday was one of the Sox’ most well-attended games this season, and the team repaid the fans with one of its most resilient performances.

“That was awesome,” starter Jonathan Cannon said. “The fans packed it tonight. Great crowd. It got loud. I’m glad we sent them home happy. That was amazing. and super clutch from Andrew.”

After a season-high nine runs on Friday, the Sox carried the momentum into Saturday’s game. It was windy at Guaranteed Rate Field, which helped the Sox in the eighth inning. Rays catcher Ben Rortvedt hit what was initially ruled a home run before the call was overturned.

The wind provided Rortvedt’s home run and pushed Benintendi’s goal over the fences. The Sox took advantage of their luck by stealing a game they could have easily lost.

“I hit it and I thought it was gone, but I had to make sure the wind was blowing just in case,” Benintendi said of his walk-off home run. “I thought (Rays catcher Ben Rortvedt) had a home run in the eighth inning and it hit the top of the wall. I think I took a break with the wind that time.

Manager Pedro Grifol made numerous substitutions in the match. He said the bullpen was down to two pitchers and no one on the bench. It took everyone’s contribution to get past the Rays.

That performance started with Cannon and his performance. Despite his uneven outing, Cannon limited the damage when he could and went five innings, saving a taxed bullpen. Cannon allowed four runs, struck out five, walked two and allowed eight hits on Saturday before turning the game over to his bullpen. It wasn’t a spectacular performance, but it was just enough.

If the White Sox want to turn this season around, it starts with the offense. After adding outfielder Tommy Pham and design hitter Eloy Jimenez who is on a hot streak at the plate, the offense is starting to put up enough runs to compete with other Major League teams.

Finding his way into the offense and building consistency will matter significantly as the season progresses. It would help if Benintendi can continue to put together strong at-bats. While the power is unlikely, it will benefit the team if he can continue to make hard contact and score hits.

The team hopes that Saturday’s match will be a harbinger for Benintendi: wind or no wind.

“He’s just letting it fly now, and he’s letting his eyes do the work. That’s wherever the ball is thrown, that’s where I’m going to try to hit it,” Grifol said. “He strikes with bad intentions.”

In a season full of setbacks, the Sox took a break. Grifol said Benintendi may have been a benefactor of the wind after the match.

“He did, but it’s a homer,” Grifol said. “Homer’s a homer.”