The White Sox certainly won’t discriminate when it comes to how they put runs on the scoreboard.
Home runs? Check. Timely two-out base hits? Not a problem. A sharp single off an opposing relief pitcher who fails to cleanly field a comebacker and then can’t find the ball? Absolutely.
The Sox displayed it all Friday night when Melky Cabrera had three hits including a home run and three RBI as part of a 10-4 rout of the Minnesota Twins that included a bench-clearing dust-up and Sox manager Robin Ventura being ejected.
The lopsided Sox victory got dicey in the eighth inning when Jose Abreu – who homered to lead off the third inning – was hit by a 97-mph fastball and began inching toward Twins reliever Trevor May.
Both benches cleared just an inning after Sox reliever Nate Jones hit Minnesota’s Byung Ho Park. After May hit Abreu, the situation quickly intensified as players spilled out of both dugouts and bullpens.
Abreu apologized after the game, saying through a team interpreter that his reaction was out of character.
Regardless, Ventura took exception and got into a heated exchange crew chief and first base umpire Bill Miller, who ejected Ventura. Ventura continued the lengthy debate, arguing that May intentionally hit Abreu in retaliation.
“We’re not going to back down or be afraid in that situation,” Ventura said.
Abreu’s reaction? Thanks for having my back.
“That showed me respect,” Abreu said. “They respect me and I respect them, and especially Robin. I think that Robin was there to defend me and it was good. I always say we are a family and we showed today that we really are a family.”
Welcome to the new-attitude, tight-knit, first-place Sox.
The Sox (20-10) snapped a two-game losing streak and broke the game open with three seventh-inning runs that included Dioner Navarro’s two-out RBI single that bounced off the glove off Twins reliever Fernando Abad. That set up a two-run single by Tyler Saladino that allowed the Sox to reach the 10-run mark for the second time this season.
As productive as the offense was, the Sox defense was just as electric. All three outfielders made sparkling plays, including Adam Eaton’s lunging catch in right that took away an extra-base hit, Austin Jackson’s leaping catch at the wall in center that brought the announced crowd of 23,054 to its feet and Cabrera’s running catch in left that set off another boisterous ovation.
“The guys have been throwing some leather around,” Ventura said. “That’s a big thing for us. They’re taking pride in that.
“They come to the ballpark ready to get after it.”
The White Sox never trailed, but watched as Minnesota nearly wiped out a 5-1 lead with three runs that included a two-run Oswaldo Arcia home run off of Sox starter Mat Latos that got the Twins to within a run.
But the Sox quickly rebounded with a pair of runs in the fifth inning that again provided some breathing room. After Eaton led off the inning with a triple into the right field corner, Avisail Garcia drove in his third run of the night with an RBI single before Brett Lawrie laced a run-scoring single that again extended the Sox lead to three runs.
Latos, who won his fifth straight decision, exited after five innings, having given up four earned runs on seven hits. Despite not having his best stuff and elevating pitches, Latos survived, being backed by his teammates both offensively and defensively.
The Sox provided Latos with plenty of run support, scoring in each of their first three at-bats to build the four-run lead. Jose Abreu followed Cabrera’s two-run, first-inning blast with a solo shot.
“This is definitely a win for the offense,” Latos said. “It’s not something you want to do, give up four runs, but it’s definitely good to have the offense that we have to come pick us up whenever we do give up that many runs.
By the time it was done, the White Sox had pounded out 14 hits, highlighting a night of fireworks – on and off the field, capped by a postgame display that lit up the night sky in a similar fashion to the that that Sox hitters did to Twins pitching.
“We are working hard to produce with our offense,” Abreu said. “I think that we have to keep working hard. I think that we are in the spot and the level that we can produce.”
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