TORONTO – Jose Abreu powered the Chicago White Sox to a vital win at the midpoint of the season, and moved more than halfway toward breaking a home run record.
Abreu hit two solo homers, Alexei Ramirez added a two-run blast and the White Sox survived a shaky ninth inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 Friday night for their second win in nine games.
Today was a very important win, especially the way we’ve been playing, Abreu said through a translator. It was important to regain rhythm as a team.
Dayan Viciedo also went deep as the White Sox won for the second time in 12 road games and connected four times off Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
The Cubans played great tonight, White Sox left-hander John Danks joked after getting homers from all three Cuban teammates in the starting lineup.
Abreu led off the fifth with his 24th home run, then connected for his 25th to begin the seventh. It was the fourth multihomer game of the season for Abreu, who is tied with Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion and Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz for most homers in the majors.
Abreu is the second player to have four multihomer games in his first 67 career games. The other was Atlanta’s Bob Horner in 1978.
It’s not a surprise, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. When he gets it on the barrel, it just seems to continue to go. It’s like helium balls, they just continue to float.
The homers also moved Abreu more than halfway toward beating Mark McGwire’s rookie home run record of 49, set with Oakland in 1987.
I’m glad I don’t have to face him, Danks said. He’s a great teammate, he’s a heck of a ballplayer.
Danks (7-6) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out two.
He was sharp, Ventura said. He had a nice curveball and changeup.
Ronald Belisario gave up a leadoff homer by pinch-hitter Colby Rasmus in the ninth. Belisario got Juan Francisco to ground out but was replaced by Eric Surkamp after singles by Munenori Kawasaki and Anthony Gose.
Surkamp was replaced by Jake Petricka after pitch-hitter Adam Lind reached on a error by third baseman Conor Gillapsie, loading the bases for Jose Reyes, who brought home a run with a fielder’s choice. Petricka responded by getting Melky Cabrera to ground out for his second save.