White Sox

Jose Abreu makes history, matches Pujols' record start to career

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Jose Abreu makes history, matches Pujols' record start to career

Jose Abreu made his way back into the record books on Thursday night.

And he knew it.

Abreu breathed a sigh of relief when -- in a 6-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals -- he joined Albert Pujols as the only player in major league history to begin his career with two consecutive seasons of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Abreu, who shared a hug with White Sox first-base coach Daryl Boston after he reached first, finished 2-for-4 as he plated RBIs No. 100 and 101 of the season with a seventh-inning single off Royals reliever Luke Hochevar.

“I was thinking a lot about it every time,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I tried to not think about it, but I couldn’t do it because it was something that was in my head. Because I like the stats, it’s something that I was always thinking. I tried not to think about it, but I couldn’t it.

“It is a big honor to see my name along with Albert. He’s one of the greatest players in the history of baseball and now I have the opportunity to see my name next to his.”

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One night earlier, Abreu homered to become only the third player in baseball history -- and first American Leaguer -- to hit at least 30 homers in consecutive seasons to start a career along with Pujols and Ryan Braun.

To reach Thursday’s mark, Abreu needed some help from his friends. With two outs and the White Sox trailing by four runs, Tyler Flowers singled to right off Hochevar. Adam Eaton’s ground-rule double put a pair of runners in scoring position for Abreu, who fell behind in the count 0-2. Abreu took a pair of cut-fastballs off the outside corner before he ripped a 94-mph fastball past the dive of Mike Moustakas into left to score both runners. Eaton scored twice Thursday to give him 97 runs for the season as he vies to become the first White Sox player to score 100 times since 2006.

Pujols became the first player to post consecutive season of at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs from 2001-02.

“Jose is special,” starting pitcher John Danks said. “That’s really the only word I can come up with.

“We need to get him into the playoffs. He’s, if at all possible, maybe flying under the radar a little bit just because in the couple years he’s been here, we haven’t been in contention. He’s a great teammate, a hell of a ballplayer and it’s fun to watch him.”

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The reigning AL rookie of the year’s encore season has been superb in his sophomore season given he hasn’t been afforded the kind of protection he received from Adam Dunn in 2014.

Abreu, who earned all 30 first-place votes in the 2014 AL ROY balloting, hasn’t hit for as much power with runners in scoring position, but still brought a .980 OPS into Thursday’s game. Before he drove in the pair, Abreu had a .338/.449/.531 slash line with six homers and 62 RBIs with runners in scoring position.

Abreu hit .317/.444/.651 with 12 homers and 74 RBIs with runners in scoring position in 2014.

Abreu also established a career high for hits in a season with 178. Last season, Abreu finished with 176. The first baseman missed an opportunity to drive in his 100th run and set a career high in hits in Wednesday’s loss when he stranded the go-ahead run at third base.

“He went through the first time and everybody had questions about the next year and talking about power numbers, but when you’re the only two guys that have 30 and 100 it just shows his consistency that he had last year and his talent,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He was relieved. I know he was… this is important. I think guys count on numbers and things like that. For him, it’s special.”

Lucas Giolito has some fun with the not so dark side of his Twitter history

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USA TODAY

Lucas Giolito has some fun with the not so dark side of his Twitter history

White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito isn't having a great season, but at least it looks like his Twitter account could pass a background check.

A Twitter user dug through some of Giolito's tweets from his teenage years. He didn't find much in the way of hateful, mean or angry tweets. Instead, he found candy, touch tanks at the aquarium and animated movies.

The tweet got plenty of attention on the platform, leading Giolito to comment on it. Giolito took the joke with a good sense of humor and made a joke at his own expense.

This kind of makes you wonder what else would qualify as Giolito's "dark side." Maybe this will spawn a series of Lucas Giolito facts like the very tame version of Chuck Norris or The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez lead Charlotte Knights on NBC Sports Chicago

Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez lead Charlotte Knights on NBC Sports Chicago

Tonight, White Sox Triple-A affiliate Charlotte (44-52) will go head-to-head with the Pawtucket Red Sox (45-49) on NBC Sports Chicago at 6 p.m.

Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech (2-5, 4.88 ERA) faces William Cuevas (5-3, 3.21 ERA) at BB&T Ballpark. The flame-throwing Kopech is coming off an 11-strikeout performance in his last start when he completed six innings of work and allowed only four hits and one earned run.

Kopech has been inconsistent for the Knights this season, but leads the International League with a whopping 122 strikeouts. He had a forgettable month of June, when he went 1-4 with a 5.46 ERA, but he looks to be getting on the right track recently.

Charlotte’s batting lineup is highlighted by White Sox No. 1 prospect Eloy Jimenez, who has performed well since his promotion from Double-A Birmingham in mid-June. The powerful hitter has a .283/.348/.483 slash line with three home runs in 60 at-bats with the Knights.

Reliever Ian Hamilton (2.71 ERA), who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 18 White Sox prospect, has served as the team’s closer since his June promotion to Triple-A. The 23-year-old has converted four of five save opportunities with Charlotte, making him a player to monitor during tonight’s game. He has 10 strikeouts with only two walks in 9 2/3 innings.