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Davidson's bat perks up in Oakland series

After tough homestand, rookie homers in finale to cap strong set
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- While the White Sox lost, 7-4, on Wednesday to drop two out of three games in Oakland, rookie Matt Davidson seemed to break out of a slump.

Davidson scuffled during the White Sox's 10-game homestand after starting it with a two-hit night against the A's on June 24. Davidson went 1-for-27 over seven ensuing games, with Rick Renteria giving him two games off in a row last Friday and Saturday to "kind of take a breath."

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OAKLAND -- While the White Sox lost, 7-4, on Wednesday to drop two out of three games in Oakland, rookie Matt Davidson seemed to break out of a slump.

Davidson scuffled during the White Sox's 10-game homestand after starting it with a two-hit night against the A's on June 24. Davidson went 1-for-27 over seven ensuing games, with Rick Renteria giving him two games off in a row last Friday and Saturday to "kind of take a breath."

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"It definitely helps," Davidson said of the two days off. "It's nice when a manager does that for you and is on the same page [with you]. It was good, but I'm excited to play every day."

The benefits of the break were noticeable in Oakland, with Davidson picking up a hit in each game, going 4-for-12 across the three-game series. He hit an RBI double Monday night in Chicago's 7-2 win over the A's and added two singles on Tuesday afternoon.

Video: CWS@OAK: Davidson smashes an RBI double to the gap

Then, on Wednesday, Davidson hit a 2-1 fastball from A's starter Sonny Gray over the center-field wall for a 2-run homer, his 18th of the year. According to Statcast™, the line-drive homer was hit 112.6 mph on a 20-degree launch angle and traveled a projected 424 feet.

"Sonny's pretty tough -- everything moves differently and there's different speeds on all of [his pitches]," Davidson said. "I was just trying to keep him in the zone and get a good pitch. He left one out and over, and I hit it."

With 18 homers, Davidson is now tied for the second-most homers by a White Sox rookie before the All-Star break, matching Zeke Bonura in 1934, Carlos May in '69 and Ron Kittle in '83. Only Jose Abreu hit more as a rookie, launching 29 in 2014.

With a .247 batting average and 42 RBIs to go alongside the 18 homers, Davidsons said he's "happy to be where I'm at so far, but there's still plenty of stuff to work on." Renteria hopes that Davidson doesn't give "too much credence" to slumps, which all big league hitters will face at some point.

"We all know he has the skill set that, once it's honed and developed, he can go and be a consistent contributor at the plate and on the field also," Renteria said Tuesday. "This young man gives you solid at-bats. He's had some ups and downs, but for the most part, everyone can see there is something there that provides optimism in terms of what he can potentially be as he moves forward as a player."

Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.

Chicago White Sox, Matt Davidson