The only mistake Jose Abreu was focused on by Wednesday afternoon was the one Tim Hudson made in the strike zone.
Two hours after he confessed to a base-running blunder he made the day before, Abreu put the episode behind him with another home run. Both Abreu and Adam Dunn homered and Chris Sale labored through six innings as the White Sox swept a two-game series from the San Francisco Giants with a 7-6 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
Abreu — who was counseled by the coaching staff Tuesday night after he didn’t run to first base when a strikeout got away from the opposing catcher — became the third fastest player in major league history to reach 20 career homers. Ronald Belisario then recorded a five-out save to help Sale earn his sixth victory in seven tries.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura isn’t surprised Abreu didn’t let a minor issue linger for long.
“He wasn’t going to spend a whole lot of time (thinking) about it,” Ventura said. “That’s part of the game we can take care of real easy.”
But Abreu did address the problem in Wednesday’s pregame media session and seemed remorseful as he acknowledged making a mistake when he headed for the dugout after a seventh-inning strikeout got away from San Francisco catcher Hector Sanchez.
Then Abreu did what he does best and got back to work.
After Conor Gillaspie doubled with two outs in the first inning, the first baseman ripped a 0-2 split-fingered fastball of Hudson’s that caught too much of the plate 368 feet for a 2-0 lead.
Abreu, who went 2-for-4 with two runs, also became the third fastest White Sox player to hit 20 homers in a season behind Frank Thomas (46 games in 1994) and Jim Thome (49 in 2006).
Afterward, Abreu reiterated he would try to learn from his mistake.
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“Those are things that I forget, I leave behind,” Abreu said through a translator. “That just happened yesterday. I learned from it and I keep going. Those are the things that happen. Those are stones in life. They happen, things that happen, and you just found in front of you, and you've just got to learn from it and keep going.”
For a second straight day, the White Sox offense kept applying pressure.
Three innings later, Tyler Flowers broke open a 2-0 game with a two-run, bases-loaded single off Hudson. Prior to the single, Flowers was 0-for-24 with 19 strikeouts.
Leading 4-2, the White Sox gave Sale additional breathing room in the fifth. Gillaspie, who had four hits in the series against his old team, singled and raced to third on Abreu’s single. Dunn then cranked a 406-foot homer to right off Hudson to put the White Sox ahead by five.
Hudson, who allowed seven earned runs and 12 hits, hadn’t allowed a homer since May 11. The outing raised Hudson’s ERA from 1.81 to 2.39.
Even though it was Sale on the mound, the White Sox needed every run.
Sale stranded five batters over four innings, including the bases loaded in the third.
But the Giants broke through in the fifth with three straight singles, including an RBI hit by Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval had a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-2.
Sale surrendered eight hits and three runs in six-plus innings. He struck out seven and only walked one.
The Giants continued to scratch and claw against Sale and his bullpen. They scored a run in the seventh inning on Posey’s sacrifice fly and Jake Petricka had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam to maintain a four-run lead.
Then in the eighth San Francisco got two more on an RBI double by Gregor Blanco and an RBI groundout by Hunter Pence. Belisario got groundouts from Pence and Posey to end the eighth inning rally.
Belisario gave up a leadoff double in the ninth to Sandoval and Mike Morse singled. But the Giants, who finished with 14 hits, only scored once and stranded the tying run at first.
Sale praised his offense, including the play of Abreu, for giving him room to operate against Hudson and the Giants.
“(Hudson has) been nothing short of dominant all year,” Sale said. “It gives you a little bit of a cushion. We really had a good offensive day today.
“You never know what you are going to get (from Abreu), whether it’s a 3-for-4 night with two singles and a double or homers or how far they are going to go or anything like that. It’s fun to watch him learn as quickly as he has and really just dominate the game in his first year.”