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White Sox hit 6 homers in win over Rockies

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:53 a.m. CST
Caption
(Barry Gutierrez)
The White Sox's Jose Abreu hits a home run during the eighth inning Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.

DENVER – A slumping Jose Abreu received a hitting tip from the person who knows him best – his mom.

In an early morning call, she told him to simply relax at the plate. He listened and his powerful swing returned.

Abreu and Avisail Garcia each hit two of the Sox’s six homers, powering the Sox to a 15-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

“My mom told me, ‘Just take it easy,’” Abreu said through a translator. “That gave me a lot of strength.”

Strength is something he certainly has an abundance of, which is why the Sox signed the Cuban slugger to a $68 million, six-year contract in October. In 29 major league at-bats, though, Abreu had no homers to show for it.

That changed in the seventh, with the game still close at 4-2. Abreu fouled off pitch after pitch after pitch until sending the 12th one high into the air. The ball crept just over the glove of a leaping Brandon Barnes in left for a three-run homer.

The weight off Abreu’s shoulders, he delivered a two-run drive the next inning.

“That’s everything as advertised for him,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Doesn’t necessarily surprise us. I know he’s happy, to kind of get it out of the way.”

Abreu even got his first home run ball, too, in a trade for an autographed baseball.

“Like I always say, we should never press for things,” Abreu said. “I always give myself some time. You have time to do things.

“It was a great day today.”

Certainly was.

Jose Quintana pitched seven sharp innings, and Tyler Flowers and Alexei Ramirez also went deep for the first time this season. The Sox had six total home runs before the fireworks in this one at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Garcia and Marcus Semien each had four of Sox’s 19 hits.

Quintana (1-0) bottled up Colorado most of the night, allowing five hits and two runs. The left-hander appeared ready to pitch the eighth, but after the Sox batted around, scoring six times, Quintana was removed.

“I wanted back for more and more,” Quintana said. “I understand – long inning.”

Quintana is not quite used to this much run support. He’s had 28 no-decisions since 2012, the most in the majors.

“Very happy,” he said of all the runs Chicago scored. “Very, very happy.”

Franklin Morales (0-1) gave up six runs and two homers in 6⅓ innings. Morales was essentially pitching to keep his spot in the rotation, especially with Jordan Lyles (2-0) off to a strong start and Tyler Chatwood (hamstring) soon returning from the disabled list.

Once Morales was pulled, Chicago went to work against Colorado’s relievers, with Chad Bettis giving up a homer in the seventh and Wilton Lopez serving up three more in the eighth, including back-to-back shots by Garcia and Ramirez.

Lopez’s line wasn’t pretty: six runs, eight hits and three homers while getting just two outs. He was booed as he walked off the mound by the smattering of fans that remained.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss left Lopez out there in order to conserve his bullpen.

“I don’t like to leave a guy out there as long as I did, or take him out in the middle of the inning and have him walk off the field,” Weiss said. “He’s always a guy that’s up for the challenge and be in there in good times or tough times.”

Michael Cuddyer had a double and a solo homer off Quintana. Troy Tulowitzki added an RBI double.

The Rockies juggled their lineup to give several starters the day off, including Carlos Gonzalez and streaking Charlie Blackmon. Tulowitzki was in the field a day after being taken out with a tight right quadriceps.

Tulowitzki looked a little tentative running out a grounder in the first inning and again in the fourth. He easily trotted to second on his RBI double in the sixth, which made it 4-2.

Abreu soon put the game away with his first homer of the season.

“That at-bat was very, very important to me,” Abreu said. “It kind of gave me a lot of confidence.”

NOTES: White Sox RHP Erik Johnson (0-1) pitches Wednesday against RHP Juan Nicasio (1-0) in the finale of the three-game series. ... Cuddyer has a hit in all nine games this season. The longest hitting streak to start a season in Rockies history is 16 games by Juan Pierre in 2000. ... A line drive off the bat of Garcia in the eighth hit a fan sitting above the first base dugout in the face. He held a towel to his face as medical personnel escorted him up the aisle.

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