Hawk Harrelson might just wear out his “Put it on the board” home run call in 2013.
Because even though the White Sox long to be much more than just a home-run machine, early results suggest the long ball makes up a significant part of their DNA yet again.
Dayan Viciedo blasted his team’s third home run Sunday afternoon in the bottom of the 10th inning as the White Sox topped the Seattle Mariners 4-3 in front of 18,708 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Adam Dunn and Alex Rios also homered ahead of Viciedo, whose first walk-off home run lifted the club to another series victory and a winning first homestand.
Addison Reed (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning pitched for the 4-2 White Sox, who have Monday off before they open a 10-game road trip in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
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“We like home runs too,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There has to be a balance at some point, but (the Mariners) scored home runs today too. We have guys who have the ability to do it and you take it.”
Last season, the White Sox hit 211 home runs, the eighth-most in club history. They also had five players hit 25 or more home runs, becoming only the 11th in major league history to accomplish that achievement.
Their early play does nothing to dispel the notion the White Sox can’t match those totals this season. Despite playing six games in cold temperatures, the White Sox have 11 home runs. Fifteen of their 22 runs scored have come via homers.
Those figures have helped the team, which has a .267 team on-base percentage, overcome slow starts by Viciedo, Paul Konerko, Jeff Keppinger and Alejandro De Aza.
“I’m OK with it,” Viciedo said through a translator. “Everybody’s going to take a little bit. Some start slower than others. But everybody will do their part at the right time.”
Prior to his 10th-inning homer off Kameron Loe (1-1), Viciedo was 2-for-18 with a homer. But that didn’t stop him from ripping a 2-0 sinker on the inner-half of the plate 406 feet to left-center for a solo homer, after which he was mobbed by his teammates at home plate.
Viciedo’s home run gave the White Sox their first lead of the day.
Dunn’s two-run homer -- a first-inning drive off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma that moved him past Duke Snider into 48th all-time in homers (408) -- tied the game at 2.
Rios’ seventh-inning homer off Iwakuma, a solo shot that extended his hitting streak to 12 games, made it a 3-3 game.
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“Walk-off homers, that's one of those special things in a game where it's hard to say who's more excited, the guy who hit or 24 other guys who get to meet him at home plate,” Dunn said. “It's one of those really cool experiences. I'm sure Tank will hit quite a few more.”
The White Sox didn’t do much more against Iwakuma, who limited them to four hits and three earned runs over eight innings.
He matched White Sox starter Chris Sale, who didn’t have exemplary command of his slider or changeup. Although he struggled to throw both for strikes as consistently as he normally does, the left-hander managed his way through seven innings with a sharp fastball.
Sale fell behind 2-0 in the first inning on Mike Morse’s fifth homer of the season. He also allowed a solo shot to Kendrys Morales in the sixth inning that put Seattle ahead 3-2. But Sale held firm and allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings. He finished with seven strikeouts.
Matt Lindstrom, Jesse Crain and Reed all followed Sale with scoreless innings.
Afterward, Sale couldn’t help but talk about a characteristic that could leave the team’s veteran announcer with a hoarse voice.
“They talk about living and dying by the home run, but we have a group of guys that can put the bat on the ball and do some amazing things,” Sale said. “For now, it’s working and we are just going to run with it.”