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Master blaster Jose Abreu hits two more home runs

Updated: July 29, 2014 6:21AM

TORONTO — Maybe this will have to suffice as Jose Abreu’s home-run derby.

The White Sox slugger, who keeps saying he’d rather not participate in baseball’s official derby during All-Star week, was the winner in the long-ball event staged Friday night at Rogers Centre with two bombs against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

The Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion, Dioner Navarro and Colby Rasmus and the Sox’ Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez tied for second with one apiece.

The Sox held on to win 5-4. Here’s the scorecard on the home- run show:

Abreu, fifth inning, none on; Viciedo, fifth inning, none on; Encarnacion, sixth inning, none on; Navarro, sixth inning, none on; Abreu, seventh inning, none on; Ramirez, seventh inning, one on; Rasmus, ninth inning, none on.

It was home-run fun for a while until Rasmus’ blast against Ronald Belisario dragged the Sox’ closer drama into the picture in the ninth inning. Manager Robin Ventura visited the mound, his team still leading 5-3, for a face-to-face talking-to that was stern and animated.

“There was more support than anything else,’’ Ventura said.

Perhaps, but two singles later, Ventura replaced Belisario — probably for good as the closer, he said — with Eric Surkamp and then Jake Petricka, who got Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera to hit grounders to preserve the victory.

Abreu’s first blast, his 24th, which landed in the second deck in left field, tied him with Encarnacion for the major-league lead. Encarnacion took the lead back with a solo shot against John Danks, and Navarro went back-to-back — the only runs scored against Danks over six innings.

Abreu tied Encarnacion with his 25th homer leading off the seventh that cleared the center-field wall. After Adam Dunn walked, Ramirez hit one inside the left-field foul pole to give the Sox a 5-2 lead and end Dickey’s night.

It was the first time Dickey gave up four homers since the Tigers got him for six in 2006. He is the fourth Cy Young winner to allow a homer to Abreu, who also went deep against David Price, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw.

Abreu also became the second player to notch four multihomer games over the first 67 of his career, joining Bob Horner of the Braves in 1978.

Danks allowed five hits and no walks against a team that has been tough on him during his career.

On a night when the Angels’ Mike Trout hit a 489-foot homer in Kansas City and the Orioles’ Nelson Cruz homered to create a three-way tie with Abreu and Encarnacion for the major-league lead, the ball was flying north of the U.S. border, too. Encarnacion brought the crowd to its feet when he flied out to the warning track in right-center against Zach Putnam in the eighth.

The Jays’ Jose Bautista, captain of the American League Home Run Derby team, said Thursday that he would find out for himself what Abreu’s level of interest is.

“I told Encarnacion that right now my concentration is on our team, and I’m not interested in talking about that,’’ Abreu said after the game. “But you never know. We’ll have to see.’’

The Sox (37-44) won for the second time in nine games on their 11-game road trip.


Adam Eaton sat out with lower leg issues. He came out of the game Thursday in the first inning. Robin Ventura said Eaton has improved.

◆ The Sox signed right-hander Daniel McCutchen to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Class AAA Charlotte.

Avisail Garcia went through outfield drills again. Ventura said that it’s not out of the question that he plays this season — but only if he’s 100 percent.

Alexei Ramirez collected his first RBI since May 26.


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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