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White Sox punch ticket to postseason, win AL Central for first time since 2008

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The Chicago White Sox are going back to the postseason. With a 7-2 win over Cleveland on Thursday, the White Sox became the first MLB team to clinch a division title in 2021.

Knowing a division title was on the line, the White Sox wasted no time against Cleveland. Tim Anderson led off the top of the first inning with a solo home run to put the team on top. Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez followed with solo shots of their own in the second inning, giving the White Sox an early 3-0 lead. 

The team continued to rally in the second, bringing Anderson back to the plate. With two men on base, Anderson hit another home run to give the White Sox a 6-0 lead. The team cruised from there, winning the contest 7-2. It was Chicago's 86th win of the season.

The White Sox can't celebrate too hard following the win. The team clinched the division after winning the first game of a doubleheader. A few members of the team will be expected to play in Game 2 on Thursday.

White Sox clinch playoff spot in back-to-back seasons for first time

Big things were expected of the White Sox coming into the season. After making the playoffs last season, the team was the favorite to walk home with a division title in 2021. 

But White Sox fans know success is never a guarantee. Thursday marked the first time in franchise history the White Sox made the postseason in back-to-back years. The team has been around since 1901.

The occasion also marked the first time since 1983 that Tony La Russa led the White Sox to the postseason. La Russa managed the team for nine seasons before he was fired in 1986. He then went on to win three championships, one with the Oakland Athletics and two with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Following Thursday's win, La Russa made it clear he believes the White Sox could go all the way.

With roughly 10 days left in the regular season, the White Sox are currently scheduled to face the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series. That could change in the final days of the regular season, though.

The Tampa Bay Rays currently sit 2.5 games ahead of the Astros for the best record in the AL. The two teams will play a three-game series starting Sep. 28, giving the Astros an opportunity to overtake the Rays for that top spot. 

In that scenario, the White Sox would play the Rays — last year's AL pennant winner — in the ALDS.

Jose Abreu celebrates a division title with the White Sox.
The White Sox punched a ticket to the postseason Thursday. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)