BOSTON — Know how you can tell things have gone well for the White Sox this week?
Mookie Betts made a spectacular running catch to rob Jose Abreu of extra bases on Tuesday night but dropped the ball after falling over the bullpen fence and hitting the ground — which, upon review, resulted in two-run homer.
Thems the breaks, and suddenly the White Sox have stumbled into a bunch. Abreu and Geovany Soto homered, and the White Sox scored five more first-inning runs en route to a 9-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox in front of 38,063 at Fenway Park. Granted a huge early cushion, Jeff Samardzija did the rest as the White Sox won their sixth straight game to improve to 48-50. The White Sox have outscored their opponents 45-17 on the trip with two games left.
“It feels normal,” said Samardzija, who allowed four runs over eight-plus innings. “I think this is what we’ve been looking for all year. This is the faith we’ve had in our team to do this all year.
“This is the time to push.”
[MORE WHITE SOX: GIFs: Highlight-reel catch turns into two-run homer for Jose Abreu]
Though Samardzija described it as normal, there has been a strange sensation in the White Sox clubhouse unlike anything they’ve previously experienced in 2015 aside from a few games here and there. Confidence that the team can score runs is oozing in every nook and cranny, and the White Sox have reveled in it. That’s what happens when a team on pace for one of its lowest-scoring averages in franchise history puts up 12.7 percent of its season-long run production in half a dozen games.
Designated hitter Adam LaRoche said the mood has shifted from: “I hope we are going to score a bunch to showing up and we are probably going to score a lot of runs today.”
For the second straight game, the White Sox started to score early and didn’t stop. Red-hot Melky Cabrera — who has six straight multi-hit games, the most by a White Sox hitter since Jermaine Dye in June 2009 — doubled in a run off Wade Miley, Avisail Garcia chopped singled in another and Soto ripped a two-run double to make it 4-0. Emilio Bonifacio, who later left the game with a rib injury, doubled in a fifth run. The outburst didn’t impress Red Sox fans, who began to chant for Pedro Martinez, whose number was retired by the team before the game.
Coupled with Monday’s four-run first, the White Sox scored at least four runs in the first inning in consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 2-3, 1996 at Texas, according to Stats, LLC.
[MORE WHITE SOX: PHOTO: Geovany Soto's homer broke some guy's windshield]
“You just keep going and don’t try to think too much about it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You just keep going and swing the bats. It’s a good feeling.
“Right now, they feel like it’s going to continue until the last guy bats.”
Even though they put six men on over the next four innings, the White Sox wouldn’t score again until Abreu’s deep drive in the sixth was overturned after replay officials determined Betts didn’t have control of his body as he fell into the home bullpen and the ball popped out.
Betts would eventually exit the game and was later examined for concussion-like symptoms.
Abreu’s 16th homer extended the lead to 7-2, and Soto’s shot, which broke the windshield of a car parked beyond the Green Monster, gave the White Sox a six-run lead. Soto finished 2-for-2 with three RBIs and three walks.
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Abreu doubled in Adam Eaton, who reached base three times and scored twice, in the eighth inning. Cabrera, who tripled, doubled twice and singled, flew out to left in the eighth as he sought to complete a cycle. Eaton also fell a homer shy of the cycle in Monday’s win.
The White Sox are hitting at a .322/.368/.555 clip on this road trip and averaging 7 1/2 runs per game. The team also has recorded nine or more extra-base hits in consecutive games for only the second time since 1914, joining the 2003 White Sox.
Samardzija made easy work of the Red Sox as he made his 10th straight start of at least seven innings. The right-hander, whose availability for a trade seems smaller by the day, gave up a two-run homer to Pablo Sandoval in the second inning as Boston cut the lead to 5-2. But with the help of his defense, including a nice catch by Cabrera and several nice stabs by Abreu and Tyler Saladino, Samardzija retired 20 of 21 batters into the eighth.
“We’ve had five new guys in this lineup all year trying to learn how to play with each other so it takes time and I think you’re starting to see all that pay off now,” Samardzija said.
Said Cabrera: “This is one of the best moments of the season for us.”