Jose Abreu has developed an affinity for facing former Cy Young winners.
Several hours after he suggested the White Sox need to modify their approach at the plate, Abreu provided them with an example as the White Sox pounded 2014 American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. Abreu homered in the first inning again and later doubled in two runs off Kluber, who surrendered a career high 13 hits in six-plus innings.
The team’s second-highest offensive output of 2015 earned Jeff Samardzija a well-deserved victory, his first with the White Sox. Samardzija pitched six scoreless innings as he and three relievers combined on an eight-hit shutout.
“That’s Jose,” leadoff man Adam Eaton said. “To be honest with you, if you took a look at last season, I think there was s stretch where he struggled a little early and then he turned it on for the rest of the season. He’s a great hitter and you can’t say enough about his professionalism at the plate.”
Kluber and Samardzija were locked in a tight game until the White Sox offense broke the game open in the sixth and seventh innings. Avisail Garcia scored with one out in the sixth on a Kluber wild pitch to make it 3-0.
Melky Cabrera singled in a run in the seventh after hits by Micah Johnson and Eaton and Abreu’s two-run double to left made it 6-0 and gave him three RBIs.
Before the game, Abreu said White Sox hitters needed to transfer some of the late energy they have displayed to earlier in the game. Abreu then blasted a solo homer to right in the first inning off Kluber, his fifth of the season.
The round-tripper marked the fifth time Abreu has homered off a former Cy Young winner (eight homers total); David Price, Justin Verlander, R.A. Dickey and Clayton Kershaw were the others.
Abreu put the White Sox up 2-0 in the third inning when he grounded into a double play to score Eaton, who had a leadoff double.
The 14-hit performance was a nice change for the White Sox, who have scored two runs or fewer seven times this season.
“We have to make some changes probably in the way we are approaching the game,” Abreu said through an interpreter before the game. “We have to be more a unit, like a team, the players, the coaches, everybody.”
Last season, Kluber — who received 169 points to Felix Hernandez’s 159 in the Cy Young tally last November — was 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts against the White Sox. He struck out 40 in 36 2/3 innings in 2014 and won four his first six career decisions against them before Wednesday.
“He’s been tough on us for a few years now and to string some hits together, chip away, Jose with the big homer to start it off, but just to chip away and add on later on,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We haven’t been able to do that against him the last couple years. So it was nice.”
Though he had “subpar stuff,” Samardzija made do. He needed 93 pitches to get through his first four innings of work as he stranded seven base runners after retiring the side in order in the first.
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But Samardzija gained speed and retired six of the last seven he faced on 20 pitches. He credited the offense for giving him a margin of error on a cold day.
“That's a big cushion to have,” Samardzija said. “Everybody knows what type of hitter (Abreu) is. It’s great to be on the team and see how he works and how he prepares. We’re expecting big things out of him and we’re going to ride him as far as we can.