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White Sox halt six-game losing streak with 9-5 victory over Cubs

Jose Abreu doubled in three runs, Yoan Moncada homered for the first time since Aug. 17 and the bullpen pitched six scoreless innings.

Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada and the White Sox line up after defeating the Cubs Saturday to halt a six-game losing streak. (Getty Images)

First baseman Jose Abreu has had so many big hits for the White Sox, you could almost feel another one swirling around in the tricky wind at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday night.

And sure enough, the Sox’ leader, the American League RBI leader and their leading candidate to win AL MVP honors, delivered one when the Sox needed him.

Really, really, really needed him.

Stopping the bleed of a six-game losing streak with one game left to go before the postseason, the Sox (35-24) rallied past the Cubs (33-26) for a 9-5 victory.

Abreu struck the big blow against Ryan Tepera in the fourth inning with a three-run double over left fielder Kyle Schwarber. The 109-mph tracer one-hopped the fence and erased a 5-4 deficit for the Sox, who fell behind 5-2 in the third on Kris Bryant’s grand slam against starter Dane Dunning.

“He’s one of the most underrated players in this game,” said bench coach Joe McEwing, who managed in the absence of Rick Renteria, who served a one-game suspension. “A true professional, he’s amazing in that clubhouse and comes up with clutch hits time and time again. Maybe I’m biased, but what he means to that locker room and what he produces on the field on a daily basis, he should win the MVP and a Gold Glove.”

Yoan Moncada, battling through lingering effects of the coronavirus, homered for the first time since Aug. 17 in the sixth to give the Sox a 9-5 lead.

“I’ve been feeling better for the last two weeks, more energy, better overall,” Moncada said through a translator. “I am still having the effects of the corona, but my energy level is improving and I’m going to be good for the postseason.”

With the first-place Twins defeating the Reds to hold a one-game lead on the Sox in the AL Central, the Sox can win the division on the final day if they beat the Cubs and the Twins lose. The Sox were 5-5 against the Twins but own the tiebreaker because of their better record within the division.

The Indians lost to the Pirates to fall a game behind the Sox. If the Sox win, the Twins lose to the Reds and the Athletics lose to the Mariners, the Sox will be the No. 2 seed and open the playoffs at home. If the Sox lose and the Indians win, the Sox would be the No. 7 seed.

Also starring were relievers Matt Foster (6-1), Garrett Crochet, Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall and Alex Colome, who combined to hold the Cubs to two hits over six scoreless innings.

None was more electric than Crochet, the rookie left-hander who made his fifth consecutive scoreless appearance, pitching two innings for the first time and striking out three while allowing two singles. In the fifth inning, Crochet threw 10 pitches, eight for strikes and touched 100 mph eight times.

“It just makes me hungrier for the next one,” Crochet said. “Just trying to get this thing rolling as we go into the postseason.”

But the star of the night — and this season — was Abreu, whose RBI total climbed to 60. The only Sox to play in every game in this abbreviated season, Abreu became the first qualifying player to record as many RBI as games played since 2001 when Sammy Sosa (160) and Juan Gonzalez (140) finished with the same in games and RBI.

Dunning, in the mix for a start in a potential Game 3 in the upcoming Wild Card series, lasted three innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on three hits, three walks and a hit batter.

Against Jon Lester, James McCann also homered for the Sox, who are 14-0 against left-handed starters this season.

“We never panicked inside that clubhouse,” McEwing said. “You go through stretches like this and it was a big win. We know what we are capable of doing when we play the game the right way.”