The White Sox didn’t have a hit off Heaney until Yermín Mercedes singled to center with one out in the third, marking his first career hit and one of an amazing 5-for-5 showing on the night. Mercedes moved to second on Nick Madrigal’s single to left and the inning stayed alive when third baseman Anthony Rendon slightly bobbled Tim Anderson’s grounder and was only able to get an out at second.
Luis Robert battled to earn a seven-pitch walk and Abreu connected on the next pitch for his blast to right-center.
“That's what we want him to do, to be patient, to feel comfortable at home plate, to have a plan, because we know what he can do on the field,” said Abreu of Robert’s preceding at-bat through interpreter Billy Russo. “That was a great at-bat. He showed his maturity there.
“My homer was in part because of that at-bat that he took. He was the one who set the tone for me, and I have to recognize that, I have to give him credit for that. Definitely, it feels good when you see him taking that approach, taking those at-bats, being patient and feeling comfortable. That's important for him because we know if he can do that, he's going to produce at the level that we all know he can.”
Abreu has topped the American League in RBIs in each of the last two seasons and now has driven in 64 runs over his last 62 regular-season games. He would be the fifth player to hit 200 home runs with the White Sox, joining Frank Thomas (448), Paul Konerko (432), Harold Baines (221) and Carlton Fisk (214).
One more home run also would make him the sixth Cuban-born player to reach 200 for his career. Rafael Palmeiro (569), Jose Canseco (462), Tony Perez (379), Tony Oliva (220) and Kendrys Morales (213) have reached that plateau.
“A true honor. It's definitely going to be an incredible accomplishment,” Abreu said. “But you know what? I do have to thank the Chicago White Sox and Jerry Reinsdorf, who gave me the opportunity to sign here, to play here. And of course to my mom, to my dad.”