Jose Abreu clapped his hands together with a disappointed look on his face after grounding out with the bases loaded in the seventh -inning.
He jogged back to the White Sox’ dugout to applause from fans and was greeted with hugs and smiles from his teammates — an unusual sight near the end of an 8-2 loss to the Royals.
But the cheers were fitting for Abreu, who knocked in his 100th run of the season, becoming just the third player in major-league history to begin a career with four seasons with at least 25 home runs and 100 RBI.
The other two players were Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.
That’s some good company to keep.
“Honestly, I don’t feel as happy as I wanted because we lost today,” Abreu said. “But personally it feels good to get this goal, this accomplishment.
“Every time your name is around two of the greatest people in baseball, you have to feel good.”
Abreu became the fifth player in MLB history to begin his career with four straight 100-RBI seasons, joining DiMaggio, Pujols and two more Hall of Famers in Al Simmons and Ted Williams.
Needless to say, all of these feats put Abreu in a class of his own on the South Side.
“This organization was the one that made possible my mom’s dream to see me play in the majors,” Abreu said. “I have to do everything I can for this organization.”
Abreu was very aware that the milestone was in sight. He came up in the seventh with the bases loaded, one out and the Sox trailing 6-1. He took an outside fastball from left-hander Scott Alexander and then put his bat on a low fastball and grounded it softly toward third.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas scooped up the ball and looked over at second base to start a double play, but didn’t have time. He threw to first for the out, allowing Willy Garcia to score from third.
Abreu picked up his first RBI of the night in the first inning with a hard single to left that scored Yoan Moncada.
“As all the different things are going on for us as a team and as an organization,” manager Rick Renteria said of the rebuilding year, “you still have one guy that continues to be now, for the fourth season, a part of an elite class.”
More milestones loom for Abreu, who has 31 homers, 100 RBI and 41 doubles this season. Nine more runs would give him an even 100 and make him the fourth player in White Sox history to hit 40 doubles, 30 homers, 100 RBI and score 100 runs in a season. Abreu leads the American League in total bases, and he’ll join Belle, Minnie Minoso and Joe Jackson as the only Sox to do so if he holds off Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor for eight more games.
Abreu became the sixth White Sox player to hit for the cycle earlier this year and saved a ball from the game. He said the RBI ball from Saturday’s game will be kept in a special place.
“Everybody was feeling it for him tonight,” Renteria said. “He’s been pushing. . . . He certainly deserves it. He’s earned it. He’s worked for it.”
Follow me on Twitter
RELATED STORIES: Fan at White Sox game struck in mouth by foul ball