Garcia’s three-run homer caps Sox’ big 7th in win over Indians
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The White Sox will wrap up the first week of the season Sunday with a winning record and plenty to be optimistic about.
Consider where they were after one week last season: 3-4 with a four-game losing streak under their belts and already four games out of first place in the American League Central. They never got any closer to first during the next 155 games.
Spring training produced a lot of talk from Sox players, coaches and executives about a new, passionate attitude in the clubhouse. The Sox’ 7-3 victory Saturday against the Cleveland Indians at frigid U.S. Cellular Field helped back up that talk.
Despite freezing temperatures at game time, the Sox’ bats got hot and produced a five-run rally in the seventh inning. It was the sort of late-game offensive outburst that was absent throughout their lackluster 2015 season.
‘‘It’s a little more of a veteran lineup that doesn’t react to you being down or giving up a lead,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘They continue to grind through it. It’s not a comfort level, but I think there’s not a panic, either, because you’re able to come back.’’
In six games, the Sox already have racked up two come-from-behind victories, two one-run victories and four games with at least four runs scored.
‘‘Late in ballgames, when you can punch teams in the mouth like that, it sets the tone,’’ second baseman Brett Lawrie said. ‘‘We’re coming here [Sunday] to win a series.’’
Talk like that can’t hurt, either.
Sox starter Chris Sale pitched seven strong innings. He allowed three runs on two pitches — a two-run home run to Mike Napoli in the sixth that tied the score and a solo shot to Yan Gomes that gave the Indians a 3-2 lead in the seventh.
Instead of sulking, though, the Sox came out aggressively in the seventh, jumping on reliever Bryan Shaw from the start. Austin Jackson singled and Jimmy Rollins doubled before an intentional walk to Jose Abreu loaded the bases. Jackson scored on a force-play grounder by Todd Frazier and Rollins on a single by Melky Cabrera before Avisail Garcia cranked a three-run homer on an 0-2 pitch to break the game open.
‘‘Everybody’s hitting like a family,’’ Garcia said. ‘‘Everybody’s getting hits, everybody gets happy, and so that’s what we like. That’s what we work for all year long. There’s going to be tough times [and] happy times, but you’ve got to be the same.’’
Sox reliever Matt Albers took it from there, throwing two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. He hasn’t allowed a run in 24 appearances and 25 1/3 innings dating to last season, the longest active streaks among relievers in the majors.
‘‘What a roller coaster of emotions right there,’’ Sale said of the victory. ‘‘Having that in your back pocket is nice. Just shows the attitude, the difference, whatever it is. We’ve got it.’’
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