Baseball / Sports

Abreu, AL player, rookie of month for July, sparks White Sox win

CHICAGO -- With the bases loaded and Chicago White Sox fans twirling gray Jose Abreu T-shirts over their heads in the third inning Monday night against the Texas Rangers, the man of the day -- and the last month, really -- didn't disappoint.

Abreu cracked a two-run single up the middle to infuse the U.S. Cellular Field stands with some life after an early Rangers lead.

The Sox rode the momentum to a 5-3 rain-shortened victory to bounce back from an unpleasant 16-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins a day earlier. Umpires called the official game in the middle of the seventh inning after heavy rain pooled in the outfield.

Right-hander Hector Noesi earned the victory after pitching seven innings, allowing three runs -- one earned -- on four hits, walking three and striking out six.

In a season of highs and lows for the Sox, Abreu has been one of the players most consistently able to provide such energizing moments, and he was rewarded for it again Monday afternoon.

After going hitless in just one of 25 games he played in during the month of July, Abreu was named the American League player and rookie of the month. Abreu is the first rookie in major league history to be named player of the month twice in one season. He won both awards in April and was also the rookie of the month in June.

"He hasn't had too many at-bats of going after stuff going out of the zone," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Early he was swinging pretty good, and then he went through a period of trying to (hit) too many homers and swinging at a lot of pitches. Over the last month, he's been pretty spot-on with the majority of his at-bats."

Abreu had six home runs and 19 RBIs in July, neither monthly highs, but he boosted his average to .374 for the month while on a 21-game hitting streak that ended Saturday. He had a 1.099 OPS during the month.

"I definitely give credit to being more patient at the plate, swinging at better pitches and having a plan," Abreu said through a team interpreter. "The more patient I am, the better hits I get and the better counts I get to hit."

Sox catcher Tyler Flowers provided his own big moments Monday night. He tied the game 3-3 in the fifth with a solo home run off Rangers starter Nick Martinez and then added a two-run single in the sixth to push the Sox ahead. Flowers also tripled in the third off the right-center-field wall that was almost a homer.

The Sox were in search of a recovery after back-to-back losses to the Twins over the weekend, but they fell behind the Rangers 3-0 in the first two innings.

After the game's start was delayed 22 minutes, Elvis Andrus singled and scored on Adrian Beltre's single off Noesi for the early lead.

With two outs in the second, Abreu made a nice move to field a ball knocked toward first by Robinson Chirinos, but Noesi missed Abreu's throw, allowing Chirinos to reach base. Rougned Odor then hit a two-run homer to right field to extend the Rangers' lead to 3-0.

Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza left the game in the sixth with a bruised left knee after fouling a pitch off of it.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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