TORONTO -- Manager Robin Ventura believes the White Sox offense is still very much a work in progress at the plate.
The club entered Tuesday last in the American League in walks and on-base percentage and second-to-last in runs scored. Before the game Ventura said his hitters need to take a patient approach with them to the plate and not try to overcompensate for their early struggles.
White Sox hitters stuck to that game plan and rallied for a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays behind Dayan Viciedo’s ninth-inning RBI double in front of 16,131 at the Rogers Centre. The White Sox walked five times, including three times during a two-run rally in the eighth, to win for only the second time in eight games on this road trip.
[BOX SCORE: White Sox rally to beat Jays]
Matt Lindstrom earned the victory and Addison Reed allowed a run but earned his fifth save in five tries.
“We’re not clicking on all cylinders right now,” said Paul Konerko, who went 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and scored three runs. “We’re not close to it, really. That happens to every team during the year and it’s kind of our time right now. We have to keep grinding and get out of it, and try to pick up some wins along the way, too. There are some good signs, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Viciedo provided perhaps the best sign to date for himself in the ninth when he worked back from a 1-2 count to break a 2-all tie. The free-swinging outfielder took two balls, including a changeup in the dirt on 2-2, before he ripped a slider from Steve Delebar to the center-field fence for an RBI double to put the White Sox ahead.
Adam Dunn and Konerko opened the inning with a pair of walks as the Sox increased their season total of free passes to 23.
“All I was thinking was ‘I’ve got to get a good pitch to hit here,’ ” Viciedo said. “I was very calm, different than the other at-bats. … The team is starting to warm up. It’s going slowly, but as the game goes and the season goes, every hitter will do their part.”
Dylan Axelrod continues to do his part in John Danks’ absence. He limited the Blue Jays to two earned runs and seven hits in six innings. Although the right-hander made two mistakes and Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia homered in the second and sixth innings, Axelrod was otherwise very good.
Arencibia’s two-out homer in the sixth put Toronto up 2-1 and the next two hitters singled. But Axelrod got Brett Lawrie to ground out to end the sixth.
Konerko then worked a 3-0 count to start the seventh inning against Toronto starter Josh Johnson. After an internal debate, Konerko figured the next pitch might be the straightest he’d see from Johnson and swung away. The result was a game-tying solo homer to left-center.
“Those are the big at-bats and then finally you get the big hit with Tank,” Ventura said. “Again, it’s a work in progress and you keep doing it over and over again. But that’s the kind of stuff you’re looking for.”
Through their first seven games on this trip, the White Sox had lost three of five games by one run. The offense had produced 23 runs in what Dunn has described as the “road trip from hell.” The White Sox tour seemed destined to continue early on as Johnson looked sharp.
But Konerko singled with one out in the second and Conor Gillaspie walked before Alexei Ramirez (two walks) singled to load the bases. The White Sox then took a 1-0 lead on a Johnson wild pitch.
Johnson only allowed two earned runs and four hits while striking out eight over seven innings.
“Once everything settles down it’ll get back to normal,” Dunn said. “We’ve got a lot of guys, including myself that are still trying to find it. It’s way too early to be pushing the panic button. That’s for sure.”