White Sox

Red-hot Jose Abreu finishes home run shy of second cycle in three games

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jose Abreu is locked in like its 2014 again.

About the only thing White Sox slugger hasn’t done of late is complete that pesky second cycle. But otherwise he’s performing similar to how he did when he was the unanimous American League rookie of the year.

Abreu finished a home run shy of yet another cycle on Monday night only two days after he achieved the feat for the first time in his career. He batted with two outs in the ninth inning of an 11-3 White Sox victory over the Kansas City Royals with a chance to accomplish the feat once again but drew a walk against reliever Trevor Cahill. Abreu finished 4-for-5 with a double, triple, walk and two RBIs as he continued a torrid stretch.

“We were sitting in anticipation watching the at-bat,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It would have been unique to see something like that happen again.

“He’s been swinging the bat very, very well. Great at-bats, great approaches. He’s doing everything he needs to do to give himself a chance.

“He has been a pretty good tear of late.”

Though he’s had his moments, Abreu hasn’t been this good since his rookie season. With two singles already under his belt, Abreu tripled in a run in the sixth inning on Monday, his career-best 74th extra-base hit of the season. An inning later, Abreu doubled with one to give him 75 extra base hits and an unheard of second shot at the cycle about 48 hours after he legged out a triple in the eighth inning to complete the first one.

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About the only question left is whether or not Abreu -- who entered Monday with a 1.208 OPS in 33 September plate appearances -- would have another chance. Rookie Yoan Moncada, who had the first three-hit game of his career, ensured that when he legged out a grounder to second to avoid hitting into an inning-ending double play.

Abreu’s teammates made sure he wasn’t oblivious about the possibility as he headed to the plate.

“I knew because everybody around me was telling me, ‘Go for the homer, go for the homer,’ ” Abreu said through an interpreter.

Abreu said he primarily looked for a changeup from Cahill. He got one on the righty’s second offering and fouled it back. Abreu fouled off two more pitches before he ultimately drew an eight-pitch walk.

The slugger is 10-for-13 with two doubles, two triples, three homers, eight RBIs and two walks in his past three games. He’s hitting .306/.358/.564 with 31 homers and 92 RBIs in 603 plate appearances this season.

“My routine right now is working pretty good,” Abreu said. “I also have to thank the guys because they have been doing their job too and that has helped me perform and get the results I have right now.”