White Sox

White Sox win high-scoring marathon in Minnesota behind Jose Abreu's big game

White Sox win high-scoring marathon in Minnesota behind Jose Abreu's big game

MINNEAPOLIS — The White Sox rode a career game at the plate by Jose Abreu to a comeback victory on Sunday afternoon.

Abreu homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runs and the White Sox rallied from four runs down to beat the Minnesota Twins 13-11 in 12 innings in front of 22,595 at Target Field.

Tim Anderson’s two-run double off Pat Dean helped the White Sox overcome a blown save by Dave Robertson to win for the second time in seven games on the road trip. Brian Dozier, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and J.R. Murphy all homered for the Twins.

Tommy Kahnle pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 12th for his first save of the season and third of his career.

“This is what you really expect out of (Abreu),” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s pretty free and easy right now.

“(It helps) when you have a guy where you feel like he’ll get something started or drive it in. “That’s what he’s doing right now.”

Anderson made sure Abreu didn’t have to do any more heavy-lifting than he already had. With runners on second and third, Anderson worked the count full before he ripped a 3-2 slider into the left-field corner to score both runs. Anderson went 3-for-7 to raise his average to .285.

“The game is going back and forth and you don’t want to give in,” Anderson said. “It’s a relief --- kind of like my first hit.”

The White Sox had earlier rallied from a 10-9 deficit in the ninth inning on Avisail Garcia’s bases-loaded, two-run single off Brandon Kintzler. But Kurt Suzuki doubled off Robertson with one out to drive in the tying run. It was Robertson’s seventh blown save in 40 tries.

Abreu, who also went 3-for-7, made Sano pay for a first-inning error when he could have turned an inning-ending double play. Red hot on the road trip, Abreu hammered a 1-1 slider from Andrew Albers for a three-run shot, his 21st.

With the White Sox down three in the fifth, Abreu showed his finesse side as he dumped a 3-2 slider into right for a two-out RBI single.

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The first baseman displayed his power once more in the seventh when a 1-2 curveball caught way too much of the plate resulting in a 465-foot shot into the second deck in left. Abreu’s second three-run homer of the game got the White Sox back within 9-8.

It was the first seven RBI-performance by a White Sox hitter since Jim Thome on July 17, 2009, against the Baltimore Orioles. Abreu hit .412/.412/.794 with four home runs and 13 RBIs on the seven-game road trip.

“I would say this is my best moment of the season,” Abreu said though an interpreter.

But the Twins easily erased their early four-run deficit when Buxton continued a monster series of his own with a game-tying grand slam off Anthony Ranaudo in the second inning. Dozier’s 18th homer since July 31 and 35th overall extended Minnesota’s lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the fourth.

Murphy made it an 8-5 game with a solo homer off the foul pole in the fifth inning. Sano, who also homered on Saturday, gave the Twins a two-run cushion with a solo homer off Matt Albers in the seventh inning.

Ranaudo allowed nine earned runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings for the White Sox.

Those woes nearly extended to the 12th as rookie Juan Minaya walked the first batters he faced. Kahnle also issued a walk as the Twins loaded the bases. But Kahnle knocked down Eddie Rosario’s two-out grounder and Todd Frazier retrieved it and fired to third for the final out.

“I’m not going to tell you what was going through my mind,” Ventura said. “They’re not easy. (The Twins battled).”

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.