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Abreu's RBI total continues to climb as White Sox's split doubleheader vs. Orioles.

Byline: Scot Gregor sgregor@dailyherald.com

A mere two weeks ago, Jose Abreu went 0-for-5 against the Detroit Tigers and his batting average dropped to .174.

The White Sox's first baseman/designated hitter also had 10 RBI at the time and was beginning to hear whispers about diminishing skills.

As he's been showing loud and clear, the 32-year-old Abreu still has plenty of pop left in the bat.

"I don't think he panics," Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "His work routine is consistent. Like anybody who has ever played, you find yourself able to see the ball a little better, able to lay off particular pitches, find some holes. Sometimes guys panic, he does not.

"He stays within himself. His timing, the way he sees pitches, the way he studies opponents allows him to have consistency. He's quite professional, has an idea about what he wants to do, an idea about his approaches."

In Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field, Abreu was 2-for-5 with 2 RBI in the White Sox's 5-4 loss.

In Game 2, Abreu was 2-for-4 and he drove in 4 runs. The Sox rallied to defeat Baltimore 7-6 and salvaged a split.

With two outs in the ninth inning and White Sox runners on second and third, the Orioles wisely intentionally walked Abreu. That brought Yonder Alonso to the plate, and he drove a 2-run single to left field to decide the outcome.

Not only is his batting average up to .292, Abreu has piled up 20 RBI over his last 10 games. That gives him 30 RBI for the season, which is tied with Seattle's Domingo Santana for the American League lead.

Abreu's hitting was not the Sox's problem Wednesday. It was the starting pitching.

"It hasn't been going well," Renteria said of the rotation. "I still expect they're going to do what we expected them to do at the start of the season. Starting pitching is the key to any good club."

In Game 1, Carlos Rodon couldn't hold a 4-0 lead.

It was another short outing for the left-hander, who pitched 3? innings and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. In his previous start, Rodon lasted only 3 innings and gave up 8 runs on 9 hits and 3 hits.

Against the Orioles, Rodon appeared to be bothered by a finger blister. Renteria said it wasn't a factor.

"He has something that he's always dealing with, but it's under control," Renteria said. "It's a little blister that develops on the finger; they put something in it and every single outing he has, it's under control."

In Game 2, White Sox right-hander Ivan Nova continued to struggle, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in 5? innings. Nova has pitched 16 innings and given up 20 earned runs on 31 hits and 5 walks in his last 3 starts.

"Bad," Nova said. "In my last start, it was more command. Today, I made two bad pitches. But I need to pitch better than I did today."

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:May 2, 2019
Words:512
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