MINNEAPOLIS — The long ball is a thing in baseball again in 2017, and if you happen to dig it but tuned in late to the White Sox’ 9-7 loss to the Twins on Tuesday at Target Field, you missed a lot of length.
It has become a thing for the Sox in recent weeks, and it continued with Avisail Garcia and Matt Davidson homering in a four-run third against Ervin Santana, the fifth time the Sox have produced back-to-back jacks. Garcia lifted a 410-foot shot to center, and Davidson followed with a 412-footer.
In the sixth, Jose Abreu made Sox history when he connected on his 12th homer, an opposite-field poke against Alan Busenitz. According to STATS, Abreu is the first Sox player to hit his first 12 homers of the season on the road.
Abreu also had a single and two doubles and matched a career high with four hits. His three RBI on those hits gave him 45 on the season, and his average climbed to .303.
“He’s our best hitter,’’ said Garcia, the Sox’ best All-Star candidate. “I watch him a lot, just trying to see how they work him. It’s pretty good, his feeling right now. He’s locked in, and I hope he keeps it going.’’
With Abreu, Davidson, Garcia and Todd Frazier, the Sox’ double-digit home-run pop through the middle of the order is something to be reckoned with.
“We have some guys who are able to elevate and drive the ball out of the park,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “Every club we play is probably saying, ‘Gosh, these guys can put a charge into the ball and hit it out at any moment. I would agree.’’
The Twins had some pop of their own, though, and while the Sox out-homered them 3-2 and outhit them 16-12, the Twins had the biggest bang for the buck.
Miguel Sano hit a home run 425 feet to center in the first inning, and Kennys Vargas rocketed a mammoth 475-foot blast to left-center in the third against Sox left-hander Derek Holland, the third-longest homer in Target Field history.
The Sox had ranked 13th in the American League with 76 homers going in, but they’ve hit 45 in the last 33 games, and they’ve played only 27 of their 69 games at their hitter-friendly ballpark. Additionally, their .290 batting average since May 16 was tied with the Rockies for the best in baseball.
Leading the Sox in homers is Davidson, whose round-tripper against Santana was his team-high 16th. Davidson is second among AL rookies in homers, and among all AL hitters, he ranked sixth with a 12.20 home-run ratio.
Davidson’s blast was his sixth in his last eight games, a stretch that included a homer in every game of a four-game series against the Orioles last week. The only other Sox hitter to turn such a trick? Paul Konerko against the Mariners in 2010.
Garcia’s homer was his 11th. Last year at this time, he had five, and he finished with 12. His career high is 13.
All that offense is what made Holland, whose ERA climbed from 3.79 to 4.48 after allowing seven runs and nine hits in 2‰ innings, beat himself up afterward.
“It’s just frustrating,’’ Holland said. “I felt really good coming out of the pen, and I thought my stuff was really good, but when you’re going to miss, you shouldn’t miss over the middle.’’
Holland called his performance embarrassing and unacceptable.
“I gave out a few souvenirs,’’ he said. “I have to be better than that.’’
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