White Sox

White Sox use big eighth to top Cardinals

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White Sox use big eighth to top Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run homer, rookie left-hander Jose Quintana allowed one run over 5 1-3 innings and the streaking Chicago White Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 Tuesday night.Paul Konerko had three singles on a 3-for-4 night to lift his majors-best average to .373, Adam Dunn added a solo homer - his 21st - and Orlando Hudson hit a two-run triple for Chicago.Quintana (2-1), making his fifth start, allowed a career-high 10 hits but did not issue a walk and was helped out by three double plays.Chicago has won eight straight road games and is a major league-best 17-6 since May 17.The Cardinals are moving in the opposite direction, dropping three of their last four to fall back to .500 (31-31).Matt Holliday went 2 for 4 with a run scored for St. Louis. Allen Craig drove in the Cardinals' run with an RBI single in the sixth.St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright (5-7) lasted seven innings and allowed half the amount of hits as Quintana. He gave up two runs while striking out seven and walking two.Konerko ignited the only rally off Wainwright with a leadoff single to start the second inning. He was erased by Alex Rios' fielder's choice, but Pierzynski kept the line moving with a single to center. Hudson then plated Rios and Pierzynski with a two-out triple to right center that glanced off right fielder Carlos Beltran's glove.The White Sox blew it open with four runs in the eighth off relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Mitchell Boggs. Rzepczynski gave up an RBI single to Gordon Beckham, who was thrown out trying to advance to second, and Dunn's 436-foot bomb over the Cardinals' bullpen in right field to make it 4-1. Boggs relieved Rzepczynski and gave up a single to Konerko and a 408-foot line shot into the stands in right by Pierzynski.NOTES:
The matchup of St. Louis skipper Mike Matheny and Chicago's Robin Ventura marked the first meeting of rookie managers in a Cardinals game since interim manager Mike Jorgensen and first-year San Diego skipper Bruce Bochy squared off in 1995. ... Prior to his triple, Hudson was hitting just .182 (10 for 55) since joining the White Sox on May 22. ... Holliday returned to the lineup after sitting out two games with back spasms. ... Dunn also fanned twice, giving him a major league-leading 98 strikeouts. ... The Cardinals' Rafael Furcal is hitless on the current homestand (0-for-15).

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jose Abreu didn’t come to the White Sox to be a leader. But that’s what he is as he took his spot among the best in baseball at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

Abreu is the face of the South Side baseball club and he’s had a stellar-enough first four and a half seasons in Major League Baseball to earn the distinction of a starter in the Midsummer Classic. But Abreu, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look at himself as one of the best in the game. He looks as himself as a hard-worker.

“I don’t believe that I’m the best,” Abreu said through a team translator on Monday. “I’m just a person who likes to work hard every day and try to do my best.”

That humility is nothing new to folks who follow the White Sox on a regular basis. And neither is talk of Abreu’s work ethic, the admiration of everyone involved with the team and a constant talking point from Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all Abreu’s teammates.

Abreu has become as important for his off-the-field roles as he has for his on-the-field production for this rebuilding White Sox team. He’s been described as a role model for all the young players in the organization, whether they’re on the big league roster right now or coming up through the system.

“None of them have told me that yet,” Abreu joked. “But I know that. It’s definitely a compliment, and I take it as something that makes you feel good, something that makes you keep moving forward and to keep trying to help the guys to improve and get better as a team. You feel like that is a big honor, that people think that way of you.”

As good as he feels to be held in such esteem, Abreu didn’t set out to be one of this team’s leaders when he came to the United States. And to be honest, he might not be in his current position if it weren’t for the team’s rebuilding effort. Abreu is one of the few veterans on this team.

“That was something that happened. I didn’t look for it,” Abreu said. “I was always trying to help people and trying to give advice to help people to improve. But I never tried to be a leader. If people say that because of what I do, that’s good, but that’s not something that I’m trying to force or something that I say, ‘I want to be a leader.’ No, that’s not who I am. I am just the kind of person who likes to help people, who likes to give advice.”

Abreu is seemingly the definition of what the White Sox want their next winning roster to be full of. And whether it’s the special relationship he has with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada or the role-model status he holds in the eyes of his other teammates, both current and future, he’s helping the White Sox develop those kinds of players.

Oh, and he’s generally — though this season has seen an extended slump and atypical numbers — one of the most consistently productive hitters in the game.

Who wouldn’t want all that as the face of the franchise?

“It’s all a blessing. I can’t ask for anything else,” Abreu said. “I’m a true believer that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. That’s why I work hard every day, I try to do my best, I try to improve every day and just to be a better person. Not just a better player, but a better person.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

With Jose Abreu playing in the All-Star Game, we asked some of his American League teammates about the White Sox first baseman. Justin Verlander, Craig Kimbrel and Michael Brantley rave about Abreu, explaining why he’s such a great hitter and a tough out for pitchers. 

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: