White Sox ace starting pitcher Chris Sale showed his human side Friday night. First baseman Jose Abreu, well, he's proving to be a different kind of animal.
Expected to take the mound and have his way with the Twins much like he did in two earlier starts against Minnesota this season, Sale never got it going and struggled from the 25-pitch first inning.
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Sale allowed 5 runs in the third inning, and things weren't looking to good for the Sox.
"I felt good," Sale said after giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits in 6 innings. "I felt really loose and my body felt good. I was just kind of erratic. The fastball command wasn't really there at all throughout the whole night."
Fortunately for Sale, Abreu's big bat showed up again, and so did the rest of the offense.
Storming back from the early 5-2 deficit, the White Sox piled up 17 hits and went on to beat the Twins 10-8.
Not only did Abreu (3-for-3, 1 walk) extend his American League leading hitting streak to 21 games, he has reached base in 10 straight plate appearances while boosting his batting average to .310.
"He's in a zone right now," manager Robin Ventura said of his blossoming Triple Crown candidate. "You just expect something to happen. Anything they throw up there, you feel like he's going to hit it hard."
When the Sox got their first look at Abreu in spring training, the feeling was he might hit for average early in the season and add the power later, or hit home runs early and boost the batting average down the road.
As it's turned out, Abreu has been hitting homers from the first week of the season, and now he's hit safely in a staggering 39 of 40 games.
"He's a monster, no two ways about it," said Paul Konerko, who was 2-for-5 with an RBI out of the cleanup spot Friday. "I think as he goes around the league a couple of times, he's just going to keep getting better. He's not going to hit .500, but I don't think he'll go backward."
Not only have the White Sox (54-56) won six of their last eight, they've scored 54 runs over that stretch.
"They've been fighting like this for a while," Ventura said. "I think offensively, they're just grinding out at-bats and being able to put it together. I think even if you get down they're still feeling like they have a shot and I think as soon as a guy gets on they feel like stuff's going to happen. That's the good stuff."