Abreu ties White Sox rookie home run record

First baseman slugs 35th to tie Kittle's mark from 1983

Abreu ties White Sox rookie home run record

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu doesn't have a clear recollection of meeting Ron Kittle. He has been introduced to so many people in this first year with the White Sox that it's difficult to remember everyone. But with one more home run over the 2014 season's final two weeks, Abreu will pass Kittle for the franchise single-season rookie record in long balls.

Abreu went deep against Minnesota closer Glen Perkins leading off the bottom of the ninth during Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Twins. He hit a 0-2 slider and hooked it down the left-field line for home run No. 35. Kittle reached that same mark as a rookie in 1983.

"All my respect goes to Ron Kittle for having had the rookie year he had," said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez. "Now that we share a record, I'm really proud of the accomplishment."

"That last home run, if that's not the definition of power, I don't know what is," said White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton of his power-packed teammate. "With the shadows, I don't even know if he saw it, but the barrel got to it and the ball went. The power is there. He continues to work hard and good things will come his way for sure."

Abreu's fourth-inning single combined with the homer gave him 102 RBIs and a .322 average for the season. He homered in back-to-back games for the fourth time this season and the first since early June. He entered the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader without a homer in September, but nobody was ever worried about his power drought.

And the 14-pitch walk he drew off of Perkins to set up Dayan Viciedo's walk-off shot in the ninth of Saturday's night game illustrated that power stands as a byproduct of Abreu's offensive excellence.

"He's a better hitter than he is a power hitter and he's a heck of a power hitter too, so that's the way I look at him," said White Sox captain Paul Konerko of Abreu. "He's not just a slugger. He's a thinking-man's hitter."

"The power is going to be there," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Abreu. "He went through a little stretch where he wasn't hitting many home runs, but it's there. That's part of him learning to go through a full season. I don't see it as when he went through it, he wasn't going to come back. Right now, he's as good as anybody in the league."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.