Abreu hit a bomb, so who cares about war?
The White Sox are a messy team, besot with injuries, cycling through bad contracts they'd clearly just as soon dump if given the right opportunity, and finding just...dudes to pitch their games these days. And Jose Abreu is a messy player--big and hulking, clumsy at first base and prone to big, waving strikeouts--but with such a pure and overwhelming power stroke that everything gets wiped away and made to be the foreshadowing and the denouement of his big moment.
That moment came in the eighth inning Wednesday afternoon. Abreu strode up to the plate with the Sox down a run, with Gordon Beckham and Conor Gillaspie on the corners and Luke Gregerson brought in specifically to pepper him with sliders until he wilted. And Gregerson did as he was told, and fired a bender that tried to dive low-and-in to the big man's ankles.
It never made it, Abreu swiveled and whipped the ball swiftly into the left field seats like it had always been there. His 15th home run of the season--we're halfway through the second month of a six-month season--gave the Sox a 4-2 lead they would stamp into the books, The victory snapped a four-game losing streak, and six-game losing streak for the Sox in O.Co Coliseum.
It also almost made a winner of starter Andre Rienzo, who left with one out in the bottom of the seventh with just two runs allowed on four strikeouts and two walks. Rienzo started out rough, giving back a 1-0 lead provided by a lead-off home run from Gordon Beckham by falling behind and issuing a lead-off home run of his own to John Jaso. Per usual, his command was not excellent and great moments with his curveball came in short bursts, like the hammer he dropped to close the sixth and celebrated by screaming and clapping.
The solo home run he allowed in the fourth inning to Josh Donaldson was the only other hit Rienzo allowed, as he mostly worked the zone and watched as his surroundings solved the contact he gave up.
Changeup artist Tommy Milone pitched six strong for the Athletics, his only splotch coming when Beckham jumped on a first-pitch-of-the-game fastball for a solo shot to left. Per his usual, Milone breezed through the Chicago lineup, struck out Jose Abreu twice, and earned fawning praise from White Sox announcers who would rather not note the differential between how the Sox hit him (two solo shot HRs are their only runs in 21 IP) and how the rest of the league treats him (3.97 career ERA).
Matt Lindstom put everyone through his usual hell protecting the lead in the ninth. After allowing a lead-off walk and a single, Lindstrom squared off against Brandon Moss--who homered off him last night--and rolled up a double play ball only marred by Josh Donaldson lifting his cleat up to spike Alexei Ramirez on the fly at second. After Ramirez's moment of agony followed swift recovery period ended, Leury Garcia invoked the spirit of Brent Lillibridge to end the game He dived and snagged a sinking Yoenis Cespedes liner in center for the third out and smacked the ground in triumph afterward. Lindstrom continues to be more of a poor fit at closer than a bad reliever.
--Gillaspie and Beckham each had three hits, combining for six of the Sox nine knocks, and scored three of their four runs. Gillaspie was starting against a left-hander, to boot.
Team Record: 19-23
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