Jose Abreu promised a young fan he would try to hit a home run for him.
The White Sox’ red-hot slugger came through.
After visiting with 11-year-old Shane Callaghan and his family before the Sox played the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday afternoon, Abreu singled sharply in the first inning and homered leading off the fourth inning against right-hander Mike Clevinger. Abreu’s 406-foot blast, his 24th of the season and sixth in the last 17 games, tied the game at 1. The Sox went on to win 2-1 on Carlos Sanchez’ RBI single in the ninth inning.
Shane, a Sox fan who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for bone cancer in his left leg at Lurie Children’s Hospital, says he loves to play first base (Abreu’s primary position) and catcher when he is able to play baseball.
“Those are very emotional moments,’’ Abreu said through translator Billy Russo. “Those are the moments that you feel touched for the people. I promised him I will try to hit a homer and I did.’’
Abreu said he felt the burden of coming through. The Sox designated hitter for the third straight day, Abreu said it hit him when he went to the batting cage behind the Sox dugout.
“I realized, ‘Oh, I did it.’ I feel relieved because I did it,’’ he said.
“I feel blessed because that’s something that God put in your path. That’s something you can do to make an impact or to do something good for kids. That’s the way that I feel, like I have the opportunity to do something good for them.’’
Abreu has hit safely in 38 of his last 41 games, batting .373 during that stretch with 13 homers and 39 RBI. He has 24 homers and 95 RBI.
James Shields’ six strong innings and the scoreless relief work of Chris Beck, Dan Jennings, Nate Jones and David Robertson (5-3) set the stage for utility infielder Carlos Sanchez, who played third base for the third straight day, in the ninth inning.
Sanchez singled to right field to score pinch runner Leury Garcia from second base. Omar Narvaez led off the inning against Brian Shaw with a single and Garcia stole second base.
“I was looking for a fastball away but it was really hard to see [in the shadows],’’ Sanchez said. “I just tried to hit that ball — I know Leury can run.’’
This and that
The Sox (71-75) complete the homestand at 6-4 by taking three of four from the AL Central leading Indians, who are 10-6 against the Sox with three more games left in Cleveland next weekend.
*Ventura on rookie shortstop Tim Anderson, a high school basketball star and late developer as a baseball player: “From the time we saw him in March to where he’s at right now, it’s a remarkable thing [considering] the limited amount of baseball he’s played to get to the point he’s at right now. He plays a solid shortstop.’’