DENVER -- Jose Abreu isn’t above admitting that he felt a little pressure to perform this past week.
Even though the White Sox slugger said earlier in the week that he wasn’t stressed, that the home runs would come, he still badly wanted to hit his first.
Abreu no longer has to wait for his first round-tripper, or his second, as he blasted a pair of home runs in Tuesday’s 15-3 win over the Colorado Rockies.
The twin blasts, one to left field and one to right center, ended an 11-at-bat hitless stretch for Abreu. Included in that spell was a pop out to shortstop Tuesday with runners on second and third base and only one out in a two-run game. But Abreu said a call from his mother, Daisys, telling him to relax made all the difference.
“We should never press,” Abreu said through a translator. “I always give myself a little time to do things. It was a good day today and I want to mention that my mother is in my thoughts right now and it was a great day today.”
Abreu’s first home run, a 355-foot shot that just got over the glove of Rockies left-field Brandon Barnes, was the result of a spectacular 12-pitch at-bat against reliever Chad Bettis.
After he evened the count at 2-2, Abreu fouled off three changeups, two 95-mph fastballs and a slider before he took a four-seam fastball for a ball. Abreu then got just enough of Bettis’ 3-2 curveball for a three-run homer. The homer arrived in Abreu’s 37th plate appearance of the season.
“Early he was swinging a lot of first pitches, being aggressive,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He probably was anxious to try to hit a homer and ambushed a little bit to do that. After that, he really was just focused on getting a good pitch, putting it on the barrel. I think he probably was upset with himself not knocking somebody in when he popped up the at-bat before. He was able to put it behind him and go.”
Did he ever.
An inning after he smacked the first, Abreu belted another homer. He jumped all over a 0-2 fastball from Wilton Lopez and drove it 412 feet to right-center where the ball slammed off the back wall of the bullpen.
Abreu, who has a .250/.359/.563 slash line with two homers and 11 RBIs in eight games, gave most of the credit to his mother’s call.
“She called me early in the day and said ‘Hey, just take it easy. Take it one day at a time,’ ” Abreu said. “That gave me a lot of strength and confidence to go through the day. I’m very happy and mom should be very happy with her two home runs.