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Jose Abreu hits 31st HR; White Sox pound Tigers 11-4

Updated: July 30, 2014 2:05AM

DETROIT — It’s good for Jose Abreu to have someone like Moises Sierra around.

Abreu is an all-business, no-nonsense type who isn’t big on cars, jewelry or much of anything else besides baseball.

A backup outfielder who keeps things loose in the dugout, the clubhouse and the field, Sierra is often responsible for the rare smiles Abreu flashes during games.

“I try to do that with everybody,’’ Sierra said. “It’s good to keep us relaxed. With Jose, I do it a little more.’’

Abreu helped the Sox relax by going 3-for-4 with his major-league-leading 31st homer, a two-run double (his 26th) and a single in an 11-4 victory Tuesday over the American League Central-leading Tigers at Comerica Park. He also extended his hitting streak to 18, matching his first 18-game streak that is separated by one hitless game July 5. And with four RBI, he hiked his major-league-leading total to 83.

Abreu’s homer was followed by Adam Dunn’s 16th — only the
second time the Sox have hit back-to-back jacks — in a seven-run
seventh against Anibal Sanchez and recent acquisition Joakim
Soria. Alexei Ramirez had a three-run double in the inning, as well.

A rare laugher in Detroit was
enjoyed by all on the visiting side. The Sox built such a comfy lead for Jose Quintana, who improved to 6-7 with six innings of two-run ball, that Sierra got into the game, giving him a chance to do more than just keep Abreu loose. He made a diving catch in foul territory in the ninth.

“[Abreu is] very, very serious with his work,’’ Sierra said. “When he’s working, he doesn’t like to do anything else.

“I try to mess with him after he has a bad at-bat. He doesn’t like anybody touching his face, so I touch him on the face. He will get upset, but he doesn’t get upset with me. We have that relationship, so it’s fun to play.’’

Sierra has made Abreu crack up with everything from fanning him with a towel after a home run to chasing after a foul ball into the corner and stopping to stare at the corner from close range to playfully slapping pitching coach Don Cooper on the rear end in the dugout.

The Sox probably welcomed a stress-free game two days before the trade deadline, although indi-
cations are Sox-related activity could be limited.

“It doesn’t mean anything that you haven’t heard anything,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “We are concentrating and focused on what we are doing here. Wherever we are at in a week, that’s where we are at. I know [general manager] Rick [Hahn] is working. So he’ll call if something is up.

“If there’s something that happens, it’s something that’s going to make us better down the line and looking toward the future. For us, we have to still concentrate on what we are doing today and make sure guys are playing for today.’’

Leadoff man Adam Eaton and third baseman Conor Gillaspie were each 3-for-5, and Tyler Flowers went 2-for-5. Eaton is batting .450 in his last 10 games and has reached safely in 42 of his last 45. Flowers is 16-for-32 in his last nine games, bumping his average up to .246. Gillaspie (.327) should have enough plate appearances by Thursday to qualify among the top three in the AL in batting average.

“He’s good,’’ Ventura said after
Abreu’s latest impressive game. “He’s going against a tough pitcher, and he’s spraying it all over the place. For everyone who thought they’d pound him in and he wouldn’t pull anything, he’s using the right-field line [the double] and hitting homers to right. That’s the biggest thing he’s done from the start of the season.

“We’re over the fact that it’s his first year. He comes every day prepared, ready to work, and it’s a very mature approach.’’


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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