TORONTO -- The White Sox couldn't pull off a sweep of the Blue Jays on Sunday, but by winning back-to-back series for the first time since late April, the resurgent Sox have pushed their season back in the right direction after a 2-7 start in June.Following a 7-3 loss, the
TORONTO -- The White Sox couldn't pull off a sweep of the Blue Jays on Sunday, but by winning back-to-back series for the first time since late April, the resurgent Sox have pushed their season back in the right direction after a 2-7 start in June.
Following a 7-3 loss, the White Sox head to Minnesota six games below .500, but coming off a 5-2 week against the Orioles and Blue Jays, their offensive surge has them back in a crowded American League Wild Card picture.
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"We're swinging the bat a little better right now," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think it's like anything, you get into little grooves, and obviously, we're in a groove here for the last seven or eight days. We've had some starts that have been pretty good for us, too, so we're able to manage and get through a situation where we can use some of our back-end guys."
White Sox bats have put up 46 runs over the past two series, averaging 6.6 per game, with Sunday representing the one time the offense scored fewer than five runs. One of the central figures in that change has been Jose Abreu, who delivered again on Sunday.
Abreu logged a two-run single in the fifth that provided a short-lived 3-0 lead. After fouling off two pitches and working a full count, Abreu singled on the eighth pitch -- and eighth fastball -- that he saw from Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.
"I thought we were able to battle against Happ, who was throwing the ball pretty well, actually," Renteria said. "I thought that at-bat that Abreu had with two outs, second and third, driving in those two runs there was an excellent at-bat."
Over the 5-2 week, Abreu went 12-for-29 (.414) with nine RBIs, two walks and three strikeouts. That has his season average at .293 and OPS at .832, putting him right in line with his numbers from 2015 and '16.
The White Sox will have a chance to make up some ground in the AL Central this week in a three-game set with the Twins. They will also face the Rangers before the All-Star break who, like the Twins, sit above them in the AL Wild Card standings.
"We're going to take every positive that we can out of every game that we play," Renteria said, "and I think that, to this point, we're very happy. This is the second series that we've won, and it's been a while since we've won two series in a row, so we're very happy with that."
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.