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updated: 8/28/2014 10:59 PM

Abreu hikes RBI total to 97 in Sox' loss to Indians

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White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is looking at another lengthy list of needs for the 2015 season, but he can take some comfort in this -- Jose Abreu is under contract for five more years.

Bad teams are much easier to rebuild when you have a great hitter in the middle of the lineup, and that's exactly what Abreu is.

"I don't know the kid, so I wouldn't want to say I was surprised, but he's a (heck) of a hitter and by all accounts, a great kid," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But what makes you nervous is, sometimes when you see young guys and they have a good first half, you think, 'OK …,' you know? But he's making adjustments along the way.

"He seems to have a little bit of, when I saw Miggy (Detroit's Miguel Cabrera), I don't mean ... but he seems to be a pitch ahead of pitchers as opposed to a pitch behind."

That's very high praise from a very good major-league manager, but Abreu has been hearing it all year and his feet are still firmly planted.

The Sox' rookie first baseman upped his American League leading RBI total to 97 Thursday night with a run-scoring single in the third inning, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 3-2 loss to Cleveland at U.S. Cellular Field.

Abreu leads the league in RBI and is near the top in home runs (33) and batting average (. 312), but he is more focused on the White Sox' disturbing 60-73 record than individual accomplishments.

"I'll be honest with you, I don't think of all that stuff at all," Abreu said through an interpreter. "I think all the individual stuff to me doesn't count. I am thinking about the team. First and foremost that is the most important part of it."

With the White Sox well out of playoff contention, the most interesting part of the final month will be seeing if Abreu can make a Triple Crown run.

"I am proud of the individual accomplishments that I have been able to get," said Abreu, who is 13-for-28 during an eight-game hitting streak. "But I am not very happy with where we are at as a team, so we will have to work on that."

Abreu hasn't stopped working since he reported to his first spring training with the Sox back in February.

The home runs have stopped coming in bunches, at least for now, but Abreu has continued to be a force out of the No. 3 spot.

In Wednesday night's 3-2 win over the Indians, he had a pair of RBI singles to center field, including the game-winner in the seventh inning.

Thursday, Abreu hit a low pitch from Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco into left field to score another run.

"Anytime a guy gets close to 100 RBI and you're not even in September, you have to have some consistency," Ventura said. "That's the biggest thing for him and he's done it lately without really hitting a lot of home runs. But he's driving in runs, tough runs, too, and that's the stuff you realize good hitters do. They have the ability to do that not only for the home run but other ways to help you win and he's been in the middle of a lot of that for us."

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