Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Abreu, Leury power White Sox past Royals

All-Star first baseman launches 451-foot homer in opener
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu was in a slump entering the White Sox 9-6 victory over the Royals on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Not a rough four or five games for the American League All-Star starter at first base. Try an uncharacteristic 28-for-161 stretch dating to May 27 for the career .295 hitter. But the hard-working Abreu started to get back in the groove, slowly but surely, with two hits in the White Sox second straight victory.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu was in a slump entering the White Sox 9-6 victory over the Royals on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Not a rough four or five games for the American League All-Star starter at first base. Try an uncharacteristic 28-for-161 stretch dating to May 27 for the career .295 hitter. But the hard-working Abreu started to get back in the groove, slowly but surely, with two hits in the White Sox second straight victory.

View Full Game Coverage

Abreu's leadoff homer in the sixth -- which traveled a projected 451 feet, according to Statcast™ -- against reliever Heath Fillmyer was his 13th home run this season and just his second extra-base hit in July. Abreu now has 137 career home runs, breaking a tie with Jose Valentin to give him sole possession of 11th place on the franchise's all-time list. Even his first-inning flyout to left had an exit velocity of 100.5 mph, and his fourth-inning single came with a little bit of team-directed humor.

"We asked him if he wanted us to get the ball for him," manager Rick Renteria said. "He got a little chuckle out of that."

"It was a good moment, and I was happy," Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. "Ricky is always trying to make it fun, to try to relax the atmosphere and the tension, just to bring us confidence and play the game with joy."

Video: KC@CWS: Leury hits a solo homer to left-center in 6th

Leury Garcia joined Abreu in the 14-hit attack with a two-run double, a bunt single and his fourth home run, in that order. Ryan LaMarre, making his first appearance for the White Sox, knocked out two hits, while Daniel Palka added three hits and Yoan Moncada picked up his first career three-walk game. Moncada drew a walk in each of the first three innings.

The White Sox scored three runs in the first off Royals rookie Brad Keller, giving immediate control to James Shields. The former Royals starter worked 6 2/3 innings and 109 pitches, allowing two earned runs (four total) and striking out seven with two walks.

"For the most part, I was pounding the strike zone tonight," said Shields, who has worked at least six innings in 14 of his past 16 starts. "Had my changeup working. Hadn't had that in a couple games. Just trying to pound the strike zone as much as I possibly can and go as deep as I possibly can in the game."

Video: KC@CWS: Tilson makes clutch grab at wall to end frame

Two runs scored in the eighth off relievers Xavier Cedeno and Jeanmar Gomez, making his White Sox debut, cut the lead to one run. But Charlie Tilson's running catch in center on Jorge Bonifacio's drive stranded runners at second and third and ended the potential game-changing rally. Omar Narvaez's third home run of the season, a two-run shot in the eighth, provided a comfort zone for Joakim Soria's 14th save.

Video: KC@CWS: Soria K's Duda, records 14th save of season

Friday's win improved the White Sox to 6-2 against the Royals. They have a 26-59 record against everyone else, but of even greater importance, their accomplished All-Star is connecting once again..

"It was nice to have him have some results, especially all the work he puts in," Renteria said. "He just grinds. He knows he'll come out of it and today was a good day for him."

Video: KC@CWS: Renteria on Shields' outing, Abreu's offense

"I've been talking a lot with Trick [Todd Steverson], the hitting coach, about being more aggressive with the pitches in the strike zone," Abreu said. "I've been doing that. Besides the results, I've been feeling very comfortable in the last few games, and I think I'm getting closer to where my offense can be and what I can produce."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Two runs, no hits: The third inning wasn't exactly the White Sox cleanest frame this season. The Royals used a walk, hit batsman, a fielding error on Moncada, a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch to score two runs without a hit. Shields struck out Lucas Duda to keep the White Sox in the lead.

Video: KC@CWS: Shields fans 7 across 6 2/3 frames vs. Royals

SOUND SMART
The White Sox won consecutive games for the first time since June 24-27, when they won three straight.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Narvaez is batting .409 over his last 21 games, with seven extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and 11 multi-hit efforts.

Video: KC@CWS: Narvaez hits 2-run HR to right field in 8th

HE SAID IT
"Just have confidence in yourself, belief in yourself, belief in the stuff that you are doing and the stuff that brought you here. I think that's the way. That's the key for you to overcome difficulties and tough moments."--Abreu

UP NEXT
White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (4-6, 3.77 ERA) will make his 19th start of the season, including his eighth at home and the second against the Royals at 1:10 p.m. CT on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Lopez has gone 3-2 with a 3.73 ERA in his past seven starts and he has allowed three earned runs or fewer five times during that span. The White Sox also will be honoring the '93 American League West champs Saturday. Lefty Danny Duffy (4-8, 4.89 ERA) starts for Kansas City.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu, Leury Garcia, James Shields