It’s always nice to have some success, especially if you’re where the White Sox are.
The four-game winning streak that ended Saturday with a 5-4 loss to the Royals, thanks to former Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera’s two-run homer in the eighth off Aaron Bummer, was a nice oasis in the middle of a long season. It provided reinforcement that the Sox are doing some things right in the majors.
“We still have another month and a half left in the regular season,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “These guys are trying to take advantage of every moment of it, and they’re still trying to continue to take information in, learn from every experience they have. They’re still trying to learn how to play together as a team, and I think they’re coming together as a team. I know we’ve had a lot of changes, but they’ve been dealing with those things I think pretty well.”
The Sox also had a couple personal milestones Saturday.
Jose Abreu hit two homers and became the first player in team history to start his MLB career with four consecutive 20-homer seasons.
“I am happy because that’s something that makes you feel that your work has been for a purpose,” Abreu said through a translator. “I am happy because I could accomplish this with the support of my family, support of my teammates and the support of all the people that have been around me during this time in this organization.”
Nicky Delmonico became the first Sox player to reach base safely in the first 11 games of his career with a second-inning single. It was another nice moment for a career that’s off to a surprising start.
“He’s been grinding, trying to get to the opportunity he has gotten to today,” Renteria said. “We are really happy he’s here with us. We’ll see as he continues to develop his skill set at the major-league level what the future holds for him. I think it’s going to be whatever he wants it to be, quite honestly.”
The Sox even got a decent outing from James Shields.
Entering Saturday, Shields had gone 1-4 with a 7.63 ERA since returning from the disabled list in June, but things went better against the Royals. He gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings and struck out eight, but he remained winless since beating the Yankees on June 29.
The Sox had a chance to tie the score in the ninth, but Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas made a diving play on Adam Engel’s grounder to strand pinch runner Tyler Saladino at second base and seal the victory. A comeback win would have been another recent highlight for a team that has struggled but has managed to stay engaged.
“I think that the way they go about playing the game and preparing … does it help them build on the belief that there’s a reason and there’s a process to things moving forward in a particular direction? Yes. I think they’re buying into it,” Renteria said. “I think they’ve been buying in since Day 1.”
Renteria deflected credit for that.
“I don’t know if it’s so much what I’m doing, as much as it’s probably the way they want to play the game. They have an energy about them,” Renteria said. “They have a desire to want to be the best. It’s very exciting for them to do what they’re doing and have some positive results.”
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