Abreu returns to lineup with two homers in White Sox’ victory

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Jose Abreu, right, is hugged by Avisail Garcia (26) after a solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, April 29, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT — First baseman Jose Abreu was back.

And in a big way.

After missing a game and a half with what he’s calling a minor groin strain, Abreu returned to the lineup Saturday and hit two home runs in the White Sox’ 6-4 victory in 10 innings.

The Sox’ cleanup man, who had not homered this season, hit one in the third against Michael Fulmer and one in the eighth against left-hander Blaine Hardy for the seventh multihomer game of his career to snap a 32-game home-run drought dating to last season.

“First, I’m happy because we continued with our winning streak,’’ Abreu said. “Second, I’m happy because I came back to the lineup and played well. And third, I’m very happy because I didn’t feel anything wrong.

“We’re playing good baseball right now.’’

Abreu had some rare interaction with Tigers fans after his second homer.

“There were some people in the crowd who were screaming something to Melky [Cabrera], and I didn’t like it,’’ Abreu said. “That was a way to pay them back and let them know I have Melky’s back, too.’’

Shields update

Right-hander James Shields played light catch, taking about 40 throws, to test the right lat that put him on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Shields said it “felt pretty decent” and would wait to see how it responds Sunday. He wasn’t dismissing the possibility of getting back on the mound without a minor-league rehab outing, but that would be a best-case scenario.

“We’ll see how it goes the next few days,’’ he said.

This is uncharted territory for the 35-year-old veteran who pitched 200 innings for nine consecutive seasons before going 181‰ last season. He is 1-0 with a 1.62 ERA in his first three starts.

“I was antsy after Day 1,’’ he said. “I definitely want to hurry my way off the DL as soon as possible.’’

The throwing was the first for Shields since he went on the 10-day disabled list April 21, retroactive to April 18.

That sinking feeling

Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez takes a 2.00 ERA over four starts into his matchup against the Tigers in the series finale Sunday, looking to improve to 4-0 in his last outing of the month.

While not overpowering with a low-90s fastball, Gonzalez, 32, has commanded a wide assortment of pitches with excellence, particularly in his last two starts in which he has allowed six hits — five of them infield singles.

The bonus pitch thus far, Gonzalez said, is his sinker, which runs away from left-handed hitters and over the outside corner to righties.

“Not giving hitters a chance to be comfortable,’’ Gonzalez said. “Remember Greg Maddux? Later in his career, he started using that more. And it’s working. [Bartolo] Colon uses it still at 43, which is impressive. You see a lot more guys throwing more sinkers.

“It’s nice to have that extra pitch. The sinker is working well, and I’m using it more than usual. That’s been the difference.’’

Gonzalez is 7-5 with a 2.54 ERA and a .227 opponents average over his last 17 starts dating to 2016. But in nine career appearances (eight starts) against the Tigers, Gonzalez is 2-4 with a 7.43 ERA, including a 1-1 mark with an 8.38 ERA at Comerica Park.


White Sox win sixth in row; what does it all mean?

Jose Abreu hopes to return to White Sox lineup Saturday

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