Jose Abreu homers in first game back, but White Sox fall to Dodgers 5-2


June 2, 2014 11:17PM

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Updated: June 3, 2014 12:33AM

LOS ANGELES — Well, that didn’t take long.

On his first day back from the 15-day disabled list and with nothing but two simulated-game hitting sessions against minor-league pitchers to get his timing back, Jose Abreu homered his second time up against two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw on Monday night.

The bullet to left field was Abreu’s 16th homer, and it gave Jose Quintana a 2-0 lead. The way Quintana was dealing, it looked as if it could be enough to give the Sox a tidy opening to their six-game California road swing against the Dodgers and Angels. It was an encouraging sign for the Sox, especially after Abreu was struck hard on the upper left chest by errant throw before the game.

Problem was, the Sox’ infield defense was not up to Quintana’s standard of excellence, committing two errors that led to five unearned runs during a nightmarish sixth inning in the Sox’ 5-2 loss.

“You don’t play defense, you leave a crack in the door, and they kicked the door wide open,” manager Robin Ventura said.

After second baseman Gordon Beckham committed the first of his two miscues, Quintana looked to be out of the jam with two runners on when Hanley Ramirez grounded to third baseman Conor Gillaspie behind the bag.

Gillaspie looked to have an unassisted forceout in front of him, but he chose to throw across the diamond. He hopped the throw, and Abreu couldn’t glove it, allowing the first of five Dodgers runs in the inning to score. Quintana showed uncharacteristic frustration, pounding his fist into his glove after the error. The Dodgers made it hurt with a string of singles.

“Sometimes you don’t have control of the situation,” Quintana said. “I lost my chance to win this game. But that’s baseball. Sometimes that happens.”

At least Abreu was OK. He was hit standing beyond first base while the Dodgers were on the field wrapping up batting practice.

“Catch the ball!” one Sox coach yelled in the direction of first base as Abreu was assisted off the field, more shaken by the unexpected blow than injured. He returned 10 minutes later and appeared to be fine, taking part in batting practice and fielding ground balls at first.

Abreu had been hit near the elbow with a pitch from a Sox minor-leaguer during a simulated game Saturday as he tried to sharpen his batting eye after missing two weeks with posterior tibial tendinitis in his left ankle. He had to wonder where the next booby-trap was planted.

Abreu no doubt was happy to be back on the same field as Cuban countryman Yasiel Puig on the night Puig completed one eventful year in the major leagues. In 156 games, Puig has batted .329 with 36 doubles, five triples and 82 RBI while becoming the fifth player with 190 hits and 30 homers within a year of his debut.

Puig’s success, and that of Cuban Yoenis Cespedes before him, eased concerns the Sox had when they signed Abreu to a six-year, $68 million contract in the offseason before Abreu had seen a big-league pitch. The only concern the Sox now have about Abreu is his injured ankle.

“I am so glad that things are feeling really good, and I’m just ready to go and play some games,’’ Abreu said before looking fit by running fairly hard to first base on his two taps to the pitcher.

NOTES: Manager Robin Ventura said infielder Marcus Semien , who was optioned to Class AAA Charlotte on Sunday, will see practice time and possibly game action in the outfield in the minors. The Sox have more depth in the infield throughout their system. “It would be nice to have a guy who can play all over,’’ Ventura said.

Even though Adam Dunn is 8-for-13 lifetime against lefty Clayton Kershaw , Ventura gave him the night off. But he indicated Dunn — who hasn’t swung the bat the best in the last week— will play left field Tuesday.


Twitter: @CST­_soxvan

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