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Monday, June 9, 2014
Rapid Reaction: White Sox 6, Tigers 5

By Doug Padilla


 
CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox held off the Detroit Tigers in a 6-5 victory Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field. A quick look:

How it happened: Playing in his first home game in nearly a month, Jose Abreu's two-run home run in the fifth inning was key in the White Sox's victory over the first-place Tigers. The White Sox had a 1-0 lead after two batters when Gordon Beckham (single) drove in Adam Eaton (triple). Conor Gillaspie had a pair of RBI singles. Hector Noesi wasn’t as sharp as he has been of late, but he kept the White Sox in the lead despite giving up four runs over 5 2/3 innings. The Tigers scored a run in the ninth inning off Ronald Belisario, but the right-hander finished off his sixth save.

What it means: While showing a gift for hitting a baseball this season, Abreu has also shown a knack for extracting himself from struggles. Abreu’s home run Monday came after a 1-for-17 stretch that included four strikeouts in Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Angels. Abreu also went 1-for-25 in early April, but emerged to hit the ball hard again. Abreu’s last home game was May 11; on the following road trip he went on the 15-day disabled list with an ankle injury.

Outside the box: Abreu’s home run was his 18th of the season, putting him on pace to hit 45 despite his time on the DL. The Baltimore Orioles' Nelson Cruz and the Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion are the only American League players with more home runs than Abreu. The White Sox rookie entered play Monday second in the AL in slugging percentage (.592), second in at-bats per home run (11.53) and eighth in OPS (.900).

Offbeat: After speeding to his triple in the bottom of the first inning, Eaton took to the field in the second and took away a potential three-base hit with a long run into the right-center field gap to catch a drive off the bat of Victor Martinez. Slowed by a hamstring issue in May that necessitated a stint on the DL, Eaton is clearly in better health now. His two hits Monday came after he went 5-for-18 (.278) in his previous four games. Prior to that he was 2-for-35 (.086) over a nine-game stretch.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander John Danks (4-5, 4.32 ERA) to the mound Tuesday in the second game of the four-game series. The Tigers will counter with right-hander Justin Verlander (6-5, 4.19) in the 7:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.