By Art Berke
An eighth-inning solo homer by José Abreu (17) tied the score at 3–3 and pinch-hitter Daniel Palka’s clutch three-run blast (16) three batters later gave the White Sox a 6–3 lead as the Good Guys came from behind to defeat the Royals, 6–4, in the finale of the three-game series and six-game homestand.
The Sox were cruising 2–0 behind a dazzling performance by Reynaldo López (seven-plus innings, two runs, five hits) heading into the top of the eighth, but Sox nemesis Whit Merrifield’s two-out, three-run homer put KC on top, 3–2.
The Royals’ lead didn’t last for long as Abreu’s clout and Palka’s blow, scoring Avi García (double) and Omar Narváez (intentional walk) ahead of him, gave the Sox some breathing room. Xavier Cedéno notched his first win while Luis Avilán, the sixth Sox pitcher of the day, recorded his first career save.
In addition to his 141st big-league homer, which moved him past Ron Kittle into 10th place on the all-time Sox home runs list, Abreu collected his 32nd double. He previously joined Magglio Ordóñez (1999–2003) as the only players in Sox history to hit 30-plus doubles in five straight seasons. He and the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter are the only players to hit 30-plus doubles in each of the last five seasons (2014–18). More Abreu: In his last 11 games, he has a slash line of .372/.438/.767 with 12 runs, five doubles, four homers, eight RBI and five walks.
With his third pinch-hit homer of the season, Palka tied the franchise record set by Oscar Gamble in 1977.
The Abreu and Palka HRs:
The Sox begin a brief road trip tonight — a three-game weekend set with the Rays in St. Petersburg — and return to Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday for a pair of three-game series with the Yankees and the Indians.
Sox vs. Rays
Tonight (6:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, WGN 720): RHP Lucas Giolito (7–8, 6.26) for the Sox, RHP Ryne Stanek (1–3, 2.36) for Tampa Bay.
Tomorrow (5:10 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, WGN 720): LHP Carlos Rodón (3–3, 3.24) for the Sox, LHP Blake Snell (12–5, 2.27) for the Rays.
Sunday (12:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, WGN 720): RHP James Shields (4–13, 4.56) for the Sox, TBA for Tampa Bay.
Class AAA Charlotte OF Eloy Jiménez (pictured above) has been named the White Sox Minor League Player of the Month for July, while Class AA Birmingham RHP Dylan Cease has been named Pitcher of the Month as voted by a panel of Chicago-area media members.
Jiménez batted .435 (27–62) with seven doubles, six home runs, 13 RBI, 13 runs scored, a .455 OBP, .839 SLG and 1.293 OPS in 16 games in July. He hit safely in 14 of the 16 games, including a 10-game hitting streak from July 19–30.
Cease was 2–0 with a 1.20 ERA (4 ER/30.0 IP), 42 strikeouts and a .165 (17–103) opponents average over five starts in July.
What Baseball People are Saying About Eloy
Quote of the Day
INF Nick Madrigal (pictured above), the White Sox’ 2018 №1 draft pick (fourth overall) out of Oregon State, has been promoted to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. In 49 plate appearances at Class A Kannapolis, he had a slash line of .341/.347/.409 with three doubles, two stolen bases, one walk and NO STRIKEOUTS. Here are his thoughts about striking out:
“It’s just one of those things when you’re on a baseball field, it’s one of the most embarrassing things you can do, is strike out . You have that long walk back to the dugout. I don’t know. It just doesn’t sit well with me. I know it’s going to happen. It’s part of baseball. But it’s something I don’t want to happen too often.”
№2 Pick Also Promoted
OF Steele Walker, the White Sox’ second-round selection in the 2018 draft out of the University of Oklahoma, has been promoted to Kannapolis from Great Falls in the rookie Pioneer League. Walker hit a pair of homers in nine games with the Voyagers.
Video of the Day
ICYMI…Tim Anderson with a spectacular web gem on Wednesday night vs. the Royals: