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Renteria implores team to improve focus

Special to MLB.com

OAKLAND -- As a rebuilding team, the White Sox shouldn't be surprised to experience some bumps in the road over the course of 162 games. But let's face it: Losing is demoralizing, especially when a team has dropped seven of its last eight.

After his ninth-inning solo homer Monday night in Chicago's 8-1 loss to Oakland, Jose Abreu told manager Rick Renteria that it was tough to celebrate a homer like that when his team was down.

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OAKLAND -- As a rebuilding team, the White Sox shouldn't be surprised to experience some bumps in the road over the course of 162 games. But let's face it: Losing is demoralizing, especially when a team has dropped seven of its last eight.

After his ninth-inning solo homer Monday night in Chicago's 8-1 loss to Oakland, Jose Abreu told manager Rick Renteria that it was tough to celebrate a homer like that when his team was down.

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"It's not necessarily the homer that you're celebrating," Renteria told Abreu. "It's the fact that you kept fighting. That you put together an at-bat that gave you an opportunity to drive the ball out of the ballpark. That's what we're celebrating, because everybody's got to watch that. That's what we learn from it."

Following Monday night's loss, in which the Sox committed a season-high four errors and went 0-for-9 with runners on base, Renteria emphasized the need for his team to really focus on every pitch, and for his hitters to keep driving the ball up the middle and to the opposite field until they get their timing back.

"Try not to do too much," Renteria said. "Just try to stay to the middle of the diamond. Anything that puts you in position to try to barrel the baseball as much as possible. Trying to do too much can put you out of whack a lot more."

Renteria likened his mentality to that of a prize fight -- trying to win as many innings as possible, one "round" at a time.

"Yesterday is done. Today is the only thing we're focused on and it's trying to win as many rounds as possible today," he said. "Hopefully it'll be in front of a huge crowd."

Sparks excited for full Coliseum crowd

Assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks, who spent 22 years in the A's organization working primarily with Minor League hitters, remembers from Oakland's playoff appearances just how loud the Coliseum can get when full. The A's distributed 200,000 free tickets and are expected 70,000 to attend Tuesday night's celebration of 50 years of baseball in Oakland.

"The fans that do come, they're true fans," Sparks said before Tuesday's game. "Tonight should be really fun with the stands full. I've been here for some playoff games where it was full, and I've been telling the guys here that you'll never hear anything like it when this thing is full, what it sounds like. It's so loud."

According to Renteria, the White Sox ran into backup ticket-holders in the Coliseum parking lot when they arrived at the stadium at 11:30 a.m. local time.

"I think [giving out free tickets] is a great idea. It's really neat," Sparks said. "Maybe it'll happen more in different cities. … A chance to get in here free and do your thing and enjoy a baseball game? What a great idea."

Do-Hyoung Park is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

Chicago White Sox