It’s been 13 years but the Chicago White Sox have finally returned to the top of the American League Central Division. With their 7-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, the White Sox officially secured their playoff spot and the division crown.



The win marks the first time in franchise history that the White Sox have reached the postseason in back-to-back seasons. It also marks only their fourth divison title.

It wasn’t as dramatic as 2008. A romp of a team that was trailing them by 11 games in the standings doesn’t exactly build the same suspense as a winner take all “Blackout game”. But it got the job done nonetheless. Instead of waiting for Jim Thome to hit an electric go-ahead home run to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning, this current rendition of AL Central Champs wasted no time getting on the scoreboard.

Tim Anderson got the party started with a home run to lead off the game. It was Anderson’s first home run since August 20th and it set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. An inning later Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez hit back-to-back jacks. Then Anderson decided to launch another home run during his second at-bat for good measure. The White Sox hit four home runs in the span of 10 batters.

Tim Anderson has been the table-setter all season for the White Sox. The offense lacked a noticeable spark during his absences from the lineup.

“Being able to start the game off with a home run, that’s getting the guys into a different mode,” Anderson said. ” And as you can see, the rest of the guys just followed up right behind that and we were able to get the win.”

The long ball has been the White Sox key to success this season. The White Sox are 73-26 when they hit a home run this season. When they go deep multiple times in a game they are 40-6.

The Game 1 victory also gave Tony La Russa his 13th division title as a manager and his first since 2009 with the Cardinals. With this feat, his career has really come full circle. La Russa’s first division championship came with the 1983 White Sox, who finished 99-63 to claim the AL West crown. He hopes this team can add another World Series ring to his resume.

A number of high-fives and hugs were exchanged after Liam Hendriks struck out Myles Straw to finish off Game 1 and the organization’s fourth AL Central title

After Liam Hendriks, sealed the game by striking out Myles Shaw the White Sox went about their business as usual. A high five line commenced some extra hugs were exchanged but there were no excessive celebrations. They know the job is not finished.

Now that the Divison has been clinched the real work begins. The White Sox have their sights set on an MLB title, not a division title. After getting a taste of the postseason last year they are hungry for more.

“We want to go and get the whole thing,” Lucas Gioliot, the White Sox lone postseason victor last season said.

This team is capable of winning a World Series. But the inconsistent play of late has left fans wondering just how good this team is?

“We’ve shown that we can hit, we’ve shown that we can pitch. we’ve shown that we can defend. And not every team can say that with confidence,” Liam Hendriks told NBC Sports Chicago. “Any one of our five starters can go out and throw a no-hitter any day. Every one of our guys can go up there and have a three-,four-home run game. …It’s one through nine, it’s one through five, it’s one through eight in the bullpen. We’ve got guys out there that can handle any situation.”

Regardless of their recent stretch of poor play, you have to like their chances.

Mitchell studies sports communications at Bradley University and works for Braves Vision, an organization that works alongside ESPN broadcasting games and covering Bradley sports. Creator of Dorm Room Dispute podcast.