Quick start just what doctor ordered for Sox in 11-5 victory

Written By BY DAVID JUST For Sun-Times Media Posted: 08/15/2014, 11:06pm
Array CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 15: Alexei Ramirez #10 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after he was hit by a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field on August 15, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 477588043

The struggling White Sox offense hopes to return to form against the tailspinning Toronto Blue Jays this weekend, and the early returns are good.

The Sox roughed up rookie starter Marcus Stroman (7-4) for five runs and five hits in the first inning of an 11-5 victory Friday night, then added five more runs against reliever Todd Redmond in the fifth.

It was a refreshing sight for fans who watched the Sox score three runs or fewer in their last eight games.

‘‘A team always goes through highs and lows,’’ said Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who singled in the first run of the first inning. ‘‘That’s just part of baseball. You try to stay as consistent as you can.’’

The Sox entered Friday’s game at U.S. Cellular Field as losers in six of their last eight. They hit just .206 during that stretch.

Until Friday, nobody in the lineup had been immune from the offensive downturn. Abreu collected just one extra-base hit during his previous eight games and had zero RBI.

He had three RBI in the first five innings Friday.

‘‘I see that as something normal,’’ Abreu said. ‘‘To be honest with you, it’s something that happened to me in Cuba. There’d be a time where I would hit home runs a whole week, a whole bunch of home runs. There’d be a time when I would, you know, cool off a little bit. It’s nothing to be concerned with.’’

The absence of leadoff hitter Adam Eaton is a big reason the Sox struggled, manager Robin Ventura said. Eaton went on the disabled list last week with a strained right oblique. The do-it-all center fielder had been a driving force after the All-Star break. He was hitting .434 since July 18.

‘‘We tend to score more runs when he’s up there getting on base,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘The stretch he had swinging the bat, he was getting on there doing a lot of stuff for us. I think if you have everybody in there, you have a good thing going, you’d like to keep that going. But right now we’re missing him, and somebody else needs to step up.”

The Sox had every reason to believe their fortunes would turn this weekend. The Blue Jays have managed to struggle even worse, losing nine of their last 12 before Friday. They were only 2 ½ games out of first place Aug. 1 and entered the weekend 7 ½ games back.

The Sox batted around in the first with doubles from Alejandro De Aza and Conor Gillaspie. Abreu, Dayan Viciedo and Jordan Danks each singled and drove in a run. Abreu added a two-run single in the fifth.

The Sox batted around again in the five-run fifth, collecting six consecutive hits for the first time this season. The streak began with eight-hole hitter Danks and ended with cleanup hitter Adam Dunn.

Five runs were the most the Sox scored in an inning since July 29 against the Detroit Tigers.



The facts: 6:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The pitchers: Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.31 ERA) vs. John Danks (9-8, 4.96).

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