Final Score: Chicago 9, Tampa Bay 6
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jose Abreu crushed a game-winning grand slam in the ninth inning, his second homer of the night, to send the Chicago White Sox to a 9-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a four-game set.
Evan Longoria cracked a two-run shot off Matt Lindstrom (2-1) in the top half of the inning to break a 4-4 tie, but Chicago rallied for five runs in the home half to take the win.
With one out, Alejandro De Aza doubled before Grant Balfour (0-1) walked Tyler Flowers and Paul Konerko. Adam Eaton grounded into a force out at second, but it was enough to score De Aza. Balfour then walked Marcus Semien before serving up Abreu's grand slam.
Balfour left a fastball up for the Cuban rookie, who hammered the pitch over the wall in right field.
Abreu finished the game 3-for-5 with six RBI while De Aza added two hits and two RBI for the White Sox, winners in four of their last six games.
"It's impressive," said Eaton about his teammates Abreu. "The proof is in the pudding. He works his butt off everyday. He knows what he needs to do to get ready."
Erik Johnson started for the White Sox and lasted just 1 2/3 innings. He allowed four runs on four hits and four walks before exiting.
Rays starter Chris Archer was tagged for four runs on nine hits over seven- plus innings in the setback.
"We played a really good game (aside from the ninth inning)," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. "We just didn't get the hits that we needed to."
Abreu's RBI single in the first gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Adam Easton singled, stole second then scored when Abreu ripped a single up the middle.
The Rays countered with a four-run second inning to capture the lead. Longoria singled and moved to second on Johnson's wild pitch. Johnson retired the next two hitters before issuing a two-out walk to David DeJesus, which would prove to be costly. Escobar followed with a base hit to left that scored Longoria and Hanigan followed with a single to bring DeJesus around.
Following a mound visit, Zobrist laced a fastball to right to score Escobar and Johnson walked the next two hitters, the last he would face, to force a run home.
Chicago scored a run in the third and two in the fourth to tie the game.
In the third, Abreu clobbered a solo homer to center to make it 4-2.
In the fourth, Dayan Viciedo, Alexei Ramirez and De Aza opened the inning with three straight singles to load the bases. Following a mound visit, Flowers ripped a single up the middle to score Viciedo and Ramirez.
Archer would get out of the jam from there, though, getting Gordon Beckham to fly out before Eaton hit into an inning-ending double play.
Abreu's nine homers are the most ever by a rookie in April ... The White Sox were 4-for-11 with RISP ... Eaton has two stolen bases this season ... The Rays were 3-for-13 with RISP and left 11 runners on base ... Game time: 4:04.
04/26 09:39:17 ET
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