CHICAGO (AP) The way Adam Eaton sees it, there’s a benefit to Jose Abreu’s fast start beyond the Cuban slugger’s home runs and RBIs.
His success makes every hitter in the Chicago White Sox lineup want to join in the fun.
”It’s come jump on the bandwagon,” Eaton said. ”It’s very contagious. You hear it all the time: `Hitting is contagious.’ It’s very true.”
It was the case as the unsung members of the lineup took the lead role in a 7-3 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.
Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run homer, Eaton had a two-run double and Marcus Semien had a two-out double to plate the winning run.
Abreu, named American League co-player of the week earlier in the day, went 2 for 4 with a walk and an RBI, his 32nd. But it was the unheralded trio that did most of the damage, driving in five of the seven runs.
”This is a team effort here,” Semien said. ”Guys just know their roles and the middle of the order has really been driving guys in.”
The White Sox (14-13) moved above .500 by taking three of four from Tampa. It was Chicago’s third series win this season.
Andre Rienzo (2-0) allowed five hits and three runs – two earned – in six innings to get the win.
Jake Odorizzi (1-3) allowed eight hits and four runs in 4 1-3 innings to get the loss.
”They outplayed us over the course of four games,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ”They’re a little bit hot right now and we’re not.
”It started out great, the way the game started out for us. Then De Aza’s homer put air back in their balloon.”
Tampa Bay quickly jumped on top with a pair of runs in the first inning. Leadoff man Ben Zobrist doubled and scored as Rienzo threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt by Desmond Jennings. Rienzo was credited with two errors on the play. The first error was for not picking the ball up cleanly and the second was for throwing it down the right field line.
The oddities continued as the No. 3 hitter, Matt Joyce, drove home Jennings from second base on a sacrifice fly to center. Eaton, Chicago’s center fielder, made a great leaping catch before crashing into the wall. He was shaken on the play and threw the ball while sitting on the ground. By the time the White Sox got the ball back in, Jennings had easily raced home.
The White Sox struck back in the bottom of the second. Adam Dunn led off with a single and scored on De Aza’s homer to tie it.
In the top of the fourth, David DeJesus doubled in Wil Myers for a 3-2 Tampa Bay lead, but Chicago answered with two in the bottom half to take a 4-3 lead.
Alexei Ramirez tripled home Dayan Viciedo with none out to tie it. Two outs later, Semien hit a two-out double to snap the tie. Ten of Semien’s 15 RBIs this season have come with two outs.
”You start losing momentum when you don’t cash in opportunities,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ”Sem has been tough, especially with two outs.”
Chicago broke the game open in the sixth. Eaton doubled in a pair of runs to make it 6-3. Abreu’s run-scoring single in the eighth capped the scoring.
NOTES: Rays OF David DeJesus continues to battle left shoulder soreness and was the DH again Monday. … There’s still no timetable for the return of Chicago LHP Chris Sale (flexor muscle strain). … After Chicago RHP Scott Carroll pitched 7 1-3 strong innings to win his major league debut on Sunday, he went out to dinner with the 30 family and friends who attended the game. Teammate Adam Dunn picked up the tab. … White Sox remain home for a two-game series with the Detroit Tigers, LHP Jose Quintana (1-2) facing RHP Justin Verlander (3-1) in the opener Tuesday. The Rays go to Boston, with LHP Erik Bedard (0-1) going against RHP John Lackey (3-2).