Jose Abreu adds to MLB-leading RBI total in 7-3 White Sox win
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Sports Reporter April 28, 2014 10:34PM
Updated: April 28, 2014 11:23PM
Rookie right-hander Andre Rienzo won for the second time in his last two starts, Alejandro De Aza homered for the first time in 26 days and Marcus Semien and Adam Eaton each drove in two runs with doubles as the White Sox defeated the visiting Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 Monday night.
Jose Abreu, the leader of what has developed into a consistently potent offense through the first month of the season, had two hits, including an RBI single in the eighth inning to increase his major-league leading RBI total to 32.
The Sox (14-13) took three of four games in their series with the Rays. They open a two-game series against the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night.
“Our big focal point in spring training was to compete every pitch,’’ Eaton said. “You compete every pitch, it doesn’t matter if it’s rainy [as it was Monday], it’s colder than all get out, or if it’s beautiful out, if you compete every pitch and you lay it all out there, that’s all you can do and I think that’s what we’re doing and we need to continue to do.’’
Rienzo (2-0) gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks over six innings. He earned the victory in his first start of the season at Detroit Wednesday, allowing four runs (all in one inning) over 6 1/3 innings. After rookie Scott Carroll on Sunday, the Sox got consecutive quality starts from right-handers for the first time.
“It makes you very comfortable,’’ Rienzo said of the Sox offense that has batted .294 with 60 runs scored over the last nine games. “You can trust more. I [gave up] two runs in the first [and] the team pick me up. I keep battling to give us a chance to win.”
Alexei Ramirez (.358) had two more hits for the Sox, including an RBI triple. Ramirez has hit safely in 24 of 26 games, including a franchise-record 17-game streak to start the season.
De Aza hit a two-run homer in the second inning against Rays starter Jake Odorizzi (1-3), his first long ball since he he hit three in the first two days of the season. Semien, who had batted second all season in Gordon Beckham’s absence, moved down to the ninth spot in manager Robin Ventura’s order as Beckham returned to the 2 spot.
Beckham went 0-for-4 with a strikeout but made hard contact three times.
“Sem has been tough, especially with two outs,’’ Ventura said.”The later it is in the game he just seems to come through and put it on the barrel. He’s tough. He just grinds away.’’
Right-hander Zach Putnam pitched two scoreless innings in relief, giving the bullpen a needed lift, and closer Matt Lindstrom pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation. Putnam has pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings over his last two appearances.
“You start seeing how this is all going to shape out and you start seeing a guy who might have an opportunity to move around a bit,’’ Ventura said of Putnam.
The Sox won their first series against the Rays (11-14) since May, 2012 at Tropicana Field.