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updated: 8/19/2014 10:57 PM

Abreu ends power drought in Sox loss to Orioles

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  • The setting sun lights up storm clouds as they drift over Lake Michigan near U.S. Cellular Field during the third inning of a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Chicago.

      The setting sun lights up storm clouds as they drift over Lake Michigan near U.S. Cellular Field during the third inning of a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Chicago.

  • Baltimore Orioles' Adam Jones looks into right field as Chicago White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia fields Jones' double off a pitch from Jose Quintana, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Chicago.

      Baltimore Orioles' Adam Jones looks into right field as Chicago White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia fields Jones' double off a pitch from Jose Quintana, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Chicago.

 
 

We've reached that part of the season where it's prudent to focus on an individual White Sox aspect.

Tuesday night's 5-1 loss to the Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field was the ninth in 13 games for the Sox (59-67), who have faded completely out of the postseason picture.

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A combination of injuries, shaky pitching at the back of the rotation and entire bullpen, sporadic hitting and poor baserunning have combined to do the White Sox in, so let's turn the attention elsewhere.

Jose Abreu is always an interesting topic, and the rookie first baseman undoubtedly gives the Sox some hope in the years ahead.

But Abreu was mired in a home run drought that reached 18 games before he went deep against Baltimore starter Chris Tillman in the first inning.

"Yes, definitely," Abreu said through an interpreter when asked if it felt good to end the homerless streak. "It's one of those things that's part of the game. It happened to me in Cuba before, and I know it's one of those things you go through in a season. But today I was glad and thankful I was able to make good contact, and tomorrow I may have another one. As long as I'm helping the team, that's a good thing."

While he seems to be fatigued by the much longer major-league season and he still limps around from time to time on a bad left ankle, Abreu is holding up surprisingly well.

His batting average sits at a very respectable .302, and Abreu is tied with the Orioles' Nelson Cruz and Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton for the major-league lead with 32 home runs.

"He's hitting for average," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's had some big hits for us. The power stuff will be there. Watching him take batting practice, you know he still has power. It's not like it disappeared."

Abreu's 90 RBI are second in baseball behind the Red Sox' David Ortiz (92).

"I always come out to do the best I can to help the team," Abreu said. "If the home runs don't come out, I try to at least do something that is helping the team and is producing a run."

If Abreu heats back up, he could winning the home-run crown in his first season in the majors.

"Right now, I don't even think about that," he said. "We still have a while to go. To be honest with you, I didn't come here to win home run titles. I came here to try to help the White Sox win games."

Winning has been especially hard with ace leadoff man Adam Eaton on the disabled list with an oblique injury.

In the nine games Eaton has missed, the Sox have scored 3 runs or fewer seven times.

"I don't know if it's a wall, but we are hitting a stretch where, if you don't have Eaton at the top, we were scoring runs when he was there," Ventura said. "It was just enough of a spark of getting on, he was pretty hot at the time. We have to find somebody else to get on there and get something going."

...

The Sox got very little going against Tillman (10-5), who allowed 1 run on 3 hits in 8 innings while striking out 9, a career high.

White Sox starter Jose Quintana (6-10) kept pace with Tillman until the sixth inning, when Baltimore scored 3 runs on 4 hits.

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