They have shown resiliency at times early this season, but the White Sox delivered their biggest dose yet on Thursday night.
Hours after they learned Avisail Garcia was lost for the season to injury, Jose Abreu and John Danks helped the White Sox bounce back from an early deficit. Abreu homered twice and drove in three runs and Danks pitched six strong innings as the White Sox rallied to snap a 14-game losing streak to the Cleveland Indians with a 7-3 victory in front of 11,116 at U.S. Cellular Field. Alexei Ramirez also homered, doubled and drove in three runs for the White Sox, who were told that Garcia suffered a season-ending torn labrum in his left shoulder five hours before first pitch.
“It’s just a different feel,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Even when we get down there’s a feeling that you’re going to scratch away and get some opportunities and come through and they execute. And they just have that feeling like they’re going to fight back and scratch something out. Tonight was the same way.”
Abreu has this club oozing with confidence.
Even after they fell behind by two runs in the first inning and kicked the ball around like last year’s club, he settled them down.
Saddened by the loss of Garcia — “we have a really good relationship,” he said — the big first baseman lightened the mood in the second inning when he belted a 411-foot home run to center field to cut the lead to 2-1.
Three innings later, he stretched the lead to three runs when he blasted another home run 386 feet. Abreu also added an RBI fielder’s choice and has 14 RBIs through 10 games, the most by a White Sox player in that opening span since Ron Kittle also had 14 in 1983.
“This has been fun,” Danks said. “Me and (Chris Sale) were talking — we want to go thank Rick (Hahn) right now for signing him. He’s fun to watch, and it’s scary but he’s only going to get better.”
Since his first homer on Tuesday, Abreu is 6-for-11 with four homers and eight RBIs. The performance is on par with what one AL scout said in October when he called Abreu the “best pure hitter” from Cuba and said he’d hit from the outset. With Abreu in the lineup the White Sox have hit from the start with 61 runs in 10 games.
“He’s just really good,” Ventura said. “Going around the league, I think you would give the advantage to the pitchers just because you haven’t seen them. Eventually there’s going to be some back and forth of trying to figure out how to pitch him but he’s just talented. He hits things hard and when he hits it hard they go a long way, whether it’s left field or right field. He’s doing it for us.”
Ramirez is, too.
The shortstop increased his hit streak to 10 games in the third inning when he blasted a solo homer, his second, to cut Cleveland’s lead to 3-2. Adam Eaton singled in a run later in the inning to tie the game.
Ramirez then put the White Sox ahead 5-3 in the fourth with a two-run double off Cleveland starter Danny Salazar, who struck out 10 in 3 2/3 innings. Ramirez has nine RBIs, a mark that took 43 games to achieve last season.
The offense gave Danks time to overcome a rough first few innings.
He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach and trailed 2-0 after Ryan Raburn’s sacrifice fly. Two innings later, Asdrubal Cabrera’s solo homer gave Cleveland, which went 17-2 against the Sox last season, a 3-1 lead.
But Danks pitched around a Marcus Semien error as he ended the third inning with a double play. The left-hander got another double play in the fourth and pitched out of a jam in the sixth. With runners on second and third and two outs, Danks retired Yan Gomes on a fly out to center field.
Danks allowed three earned runs and six hits over six innings. He walked two batters and struck out four but finished a rough day on a good note.
“It’s tough,” Danks said. “You feel bad for Avi. He’s a great kid, great teammate, great player. Hopefully this isn’t too much of a setback for him. It’s tough, having been through shoulder stuff, I don’t wish that on anybody. He’s young enough and hopefully it’s something he can get through fairly quickly and be ready for next year.”