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Balfour meltdown, Abreu slam lead White Sox to dramatic 9-6 win over Rays

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CHICAGO - Joe Maddon limits the amount of time he can be upset about a loss.

The Tampa Bay Rays manager saw his time limit pushed to the outer edge on Friday.

Jose Abreu hit a game-winning grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning for his second home run of the night, rallying the Chicago White Sox past the Rays 9-6.

Evan Longoria's two-run homer in the top of the ninth put Tampa Bay ahead 6-4 and seemingly had won the game before closer Grant Balfour (0-1) surrendered five runs in the bottom of the inning.

"It's one of those games, if you permit it to fester, it will, and if you don't permit it, it won't," Maddon said. "So for me, it's a loss and a loss is a loss is a loss. Of course, we really had a chance to win that game, but you've got to come and play tomorrow — you don't get a week off — and you have to come ready to play. You have to file it. This is a solid 30-minute game for me, and after that, we'll be fine."

Balfour, who had been 4-for-4 in save opportunities, took the same attitude.

"This is a frustrating night for me," he said. "I know I'm better than that. So I'll come back tomorrow and turn the page. If I get an opportunity, go out there and get it done."

Abreu, the rookie slugger from Cuba who signed a $68 million, six-year contract in the off-season, finished with three hits and six RBIs.

The homer was Abreu's ninth, which is a new Major League Baseball record for homers by a rookie before the end of April.

"Yes, they just mentioned that to me and it's just something amazing," Abreu said through an interpreter when asked if he was aware of the record. "It's just amazing to be involved in this situation.

Balfour gave up a one-out double to Alejandro De Aza in the ninth, then walked Tyler Flowers and pinch-hitter Paul Konerko. As Konerko trotted to first, Balfour and Konerko exchanged words.

"I'm angry at myself, so if he wants to yell at me, whatever," Balfour said. "I wasn't yelling at him. I was frustrated by the fact I missed by six feet back there."

Adam Eaton hit a grounder to second base, but Tampa Bay was unable to turn

the double play after getting a force at second.

Maddon challenged the call, but Eaton clearly beat the throw to first and the ruling was upheld on replay. Balfour walked Marcus Semien to load the bases against and Abreu drove an 0-1 pitch to right-centre.

Matt Joyce drew his team-record fifth walk of the game leading off the ninth against White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom (2-1). Longoria followed with his third home run of the season to centre to break a 4-all tie.

Tyler Flowers had two hits and two RBIs for the White Sox in the opener of a four-game series. Chicago starter Erik Johnson couldn't get out of the second inning.

The Rays tied a club mark by drawing 11 walks.

Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer pitched six-plus innings. He allowed four runs and nine hits.

Abreu hit a solo shot in the third and the White Sox tied it in the fourth when Flowers lined a two-run single with the bases loaded. But a base running gaffe by Chicago prevented a potentially bigger inning.

Eaton grounded back to Archer, who caught De Aza between third and home. De Aza was eventually tagged out in a rundown, then Flowers was tagged out while trying to go to third.

After missing five games with a mild left knee strain, Eaton led off the first inning with a single and stole second. He later scored on Abreu's single.

Johnson allowed four runs on four hits and four walks.

NOTES: Before the game, the White Sox claimed reliever Hector Noesi off waivers from Texas. He is expected to throw a bullpen before Saturday's game. ... Rays LHP Cesar Ramos will start Saturday in place of LHP Matt Moore, who had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.

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