They didn’t struggle on Friday night but the White Sox offense has had some difficulty scoring without Adam Eaton.
But relief could soon be on the way in the form of Avisail Garcia, who may come off the disabled list later this weekend to join the White Sox. Led by Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn, the White Sox didn’t need either Eaton or Garcia on Friday as they rapped out 17 hits in an 11-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field. Abreu had three singles and three RBIs and Dunn had three hits and two RBIs to make a winner of Hector Noesi (7-8).
Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, Conor Gillaspie and Jordan Danks all had two hits apiece for the White Sox, who batted around in the first and fifth innings.
“The offense was great tonight,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “To be able to bounce back and give up one in the first. Just battle back, answer that, and put together a really great inning against a hot pitcher. It was good to see the offense do this tonight.”
The White Sox have had few games like it since they lost Eaton in the top of the first inning on Aug. 6 when he ran into the outfield wall at full speed. The leadoff man returned to the lineup two days later only to exit after one at-bat with a strained oblique muscle.
Over seven games without their catalyst the White Sox had scored 13 runs.
They looked as if they might match that entire total in the first inning on Friday against Toronto starter Marcus Stroman. Abreu, Dunn, Viciedo and Gillaspie all drove in runs consecutively and Danks had a two-out single to drive in another as they White Sox rolled to an early 5-1 lead.
Stroman, who pitched well against the White Sox in June in Toronto, recorded only two outs before giving way to his bullpen.
The White Sox added another run in the second inning on Viciedo’s RBI single to make it a 6-4 game. They added five more runs when they began the fifth inning with a season-high six straight hits, all singles. De Aza drove in the first and Abreu added two more to increase his RBI total to 89. Dunn singled in another run and Abreu would score on a wild pitch to give the White Sox an 11-4 lead.
The support was enough to make a winner of Noesi, who got off to a shaky start.
He gave up a two-out, run-scoring single in the first inning to Adam Lind as Toronto grabbed a 1-0 lead. Then in the second inning Melky Cabrera hit a three-run homer to get the Blue Jays within a run.
But Noesi settled down and retired 10 of 11 as the White Sox built back their lead. Noesi, who was hit in the thigh by a ground ball, later exited after allowing two singles and a walk in the sixth inning. Ventura said Noesi’s thigh tightened up on his as the game went on.
“(The offense) was good, you know, because my location was a little off today and I was trying to fight all day,” Noesi said. “But I’m glad that we scored runs today.”
Reintroducing Garcia’s bat into the lineup could lead to a lot more runs.
Thought to be lost for the season in mid-April, Garcia has had nothing short of a miraculous comeback after he sustained a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Garcia was out of sight until early June as he rehabbed his shoulder mostly away from his teammates because he had a tough time thinking that his season was over.
But starting with an 11-game road trip in mid-June, Garcia rejoined the White Sox and picked up the pace. Near the end of that trip, Ventura suggested Garcia might be able to play again later in the season if he maintained the pace of his rehab.
He continued to recover well and earlier this month went on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Charlotte. Through 13 games, Garcia, who was off on Friday, a scheduled day off, the team said, is hitting .340 with three doubles, a home run and three RBIs.
Before Friday’s game Ventura suggested Garcia could return to the White Sox as soon as this weekend, something general manager Rick Hahn sees as being akin to “found money.”
Seen as a core piece of the puzzle, the White Sox would love for their 23-year-old outfielder to get as much experience as possible as they head down the stretch. With Garcia in the lineup earlier this season, the White Sox averaged six runs a game and hit .287 as a team for nine games.
“If he’s completely healthy we know what kind of talent he is,” Dunn said. “I’m not sure how he’s doing down there, but I’m sure he’s probably doing pretty well. To get another bat like that in the lineup obviously (doesn’t) hurt.”