Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Dunn homers lift Sox to 5-4 victory

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Adam Dunn had a simple reminder before the White Sox faced the Cleveland Indians Monday.
``You can't worry about what other teams are doing. We are in first place. That's what people are still forgetting.
We are in first place.
`` If we win as many games as we can and we play well, we will make the playoffs. We don't have to watch, when you have a lead. You don't have to scoreboard watch. It's nice if we win and they lose, but if we win them all and they win them all, guess who goes?''
Dunn was the man who rescued the Sox Monday night and kept them in first place with a pair of home runs, none bigger than his three-run blast in the eighth off Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano (3-3) that was enough for the 5-4 victory.
Matt Thornton gave up a run in the ninth, and the Indians had the tying run at second with two outs before Donnie Veal got the final out (first save.)
The victory went to Brett Myers (3-3) in relief.
``We have nine games left, and hopefully tonight kind of jump-starts us,'' Dunn said.
For now, it ended the Sox five-game losing streak and preserved their one game lead in the American League Central over the Detroit Tigers, who already had defeated the Kansas City Royals and were on the verge of climbing to a division tie.
``Knowing the situation and everything that goes with it, they were big at bats,'' manager Robin Ventura said of Dunn's homers--Nos. 40 and 41 of the season coming after the designated hitter had struck out twice against Indians starter Zach McAllister.
Dunn had entered the game in a 2-for-21 slump, mirroring the offensive woes of the team during a deflating losing road trip.
Dunn admitted he wasn't seeing the ball well in Anaheim, where the Angels swept a three-game weekend series. He watched video and worked on ``slowing everything down,'' he said.
The result were the homers that put him in the 40-category for the sixth time in his career, with No. 41 one of the biggest of his career, he admitted.
``We were struggling to score runs,'' he said. ``I had been swinging and missing for about a week.''
The Sox trailed 3-2 with two out in the eighth and two men on when Dunn connected, taking Chris Sale off the hook for what would have been his first loss at home since May 12, a span of 10 home starts.
``We've had some pretty big wins, but pulling that one out was huge,'' said Sale, who labored through seven innings, giving up a season-high 10 hits but only three runs after throwing a season-high 118 pitches.
A crowd of 20,206 watched as the Sox managed only four hits off McAlister, who gave up one run in the fifth when Alex Rios singled and later scored after a balk and ground out by Alexei Ramirez.
The Sox thought they had a run in the fourth when Alejandro De Aza raced from first toward home on a Kevin Youkilis double. But De Aza was tagged out on a close play at the plate.
``These three games are going to be as tough as any three we've played, just for that fact,'' Dunn said of the Indians series. ``They know they are going home and they would like nothing more than to see us go home--and I've been in that situation. This is their playoff.''
Coming home was a tonic, with the Sox again using home run power to gain a victory.
They have homered in 29 of their last 33 games, with 60 homers in that span.
Sale had been untouchable at home in his last nine starts, with an 8-0 record and 1.20 ERA.
``I felt good out there, but they were taking a lot [of pitches],'' he said. ``They were taking pitches I usually get swings on.''
The Indians scored in the third on a Jason Kipnis single and RBI double by Asdrubal Cabrera. Russ Canzier's second homer of the season after Carlos Santana singled in the sixth hiked the lead.
A week ago the Sox pushed their division lead to three games with a win over the Tigers in a make-up game.
The Sox have been in first place every day since July 24.
``You never know what can happen over these last games as far as a team getting hot and playing well,'' Paul Konerko said. ``I know how teams go. In a matter of two, three games you have a couple great games and you feel like you're the best team in the world. So that can definitely happen over the last games.''
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This page contains a single entry by Toni Ginnetti published on September 24, 2012 10:45 PM.

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