Youkilis, offense come alive as Sox throttle Twins

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Youkilis, offense come alive as Sox throttle Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- A.J. Pierzynski might just have a future as a motivational speaker.

About an hour before Wednesday afternoons series finale, a 12-5 White Sox drubbing of the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, the veteran catcher playfully jabbed new infielder Kevin Youkilis and asked when he would make a significant contribution to the club.

Youkilis, who was acquired in a trade Sunday, followed suit with his first RBI as a member of the White Sox in the third inning. He later added another RBI as he and Adam Dunn and Alex Rios paced a season-best 21-hit attack with three hits apiece.

Dunn had four RBIs as he snapped a 0-for-24 streak with a monstrous three-run homer to left for the White Sox, who won their second straight series. Rios also homered -- his 10th -- to help starting pitcher Chris Sale (9-2) earn his first win since June 9 against Houston.

"I just told him to show everyone why we got him," said Pierzynski, who tripled and had an RBI. "That was a great game. It was nice. It was good for him. Im happy for him to get that off the schneid."

Already with a 1-0 lead, Youkilis put the White Sox ahead by two in the third when he doubled high off the wall in right-center to score Eduardo Escobar.

Manager Robin Ventura admittedly enjoyed the double. But he was more taken with Youkilis next at-bat in the fifth inning, when the first baseman continued a two-out rally by fouling off three straight Nick Blackburn pitches before singling to center.

Three pitches later, Dunn rocketed a 410-foot drive off the facing of the second deck in left field for a three-run homer -- his first in 10 games.

"Thats what youre used to seeing from Youk" Ventura said. "He grinds on a pitcher, wears him out, fouls off a lot of good pitches and finally gets a hit."

Youkilis also singled in a run in the sixth inning and is 5-for-12 since he was acquired from the Boston Red Sox. Three days in, Youkilis said a sense of normalcy has returned after a tumultuous first 2 1 2 months of the season.

"Im enjoying myself," Youkilis said. "Theres no drama. Theres no (bull). Its playing and having fun. Thats my attitude going forward."

After he spent much of a 3-for-38 spell pulling the ball, Dunn determined he needed an up-the-middle approach. He also felt as if he were on the verge of a breakout game.

An inning after his homer, Dunn singled in another run to give the White Sox a 9-1 lead. He also later added an infield single and finished 3-for-5.

"I didnt care if I got jammed," Dunn said. "I just wanted to make sure the bat path was going the right way and I wasnt pulling off the ball. Today it worked. We havent been swinging the bats well the last two weeks and hopefully today gets everybodys confidence back up and we start rolling again."

Rios continued his roll after Dunns homer in the fifth with a solo blast of his own. He also had an RBI single in the eighth inning and doubled and scored the White Sox first run. Rios is hitting .341 (44-for-129) with nine homers and 25 RBIs in his last 32 games.

Escobar, Jordan Danks and Orlando Hudson all had two hits for the White Sox. Every position player had at least one hit.

The White Sox 21 hits were their most since Aug. 16, 2011 and most on the road since Aug. 30, 2010 at Cleveland.

In their previous 13 games, the White Sox were hitting .216 and had averaged three runs a game.

The offense gave Sale plenty of breathing room, though he didnt need much.

Sale did allow the first homer by a White Sox pitcher in 71 1 3 innings -- a solo homer by Brian Dozier in the fifth -- but was otherwise sharp. The rookie didnt allow a run until he had a six-run lead and limited Minnesota to two runs and six hits in seven innings. He didnt walk anyone and struck out five.

"It was impressive," Sale said of the offense. "Any time you get that kind of run support, it kind of calms you down a little bit. You go out and just execute. It was their day today."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score) and David Schuster (670 The Score) joined David Kaplan on the SportsTalk Live panel for Thursday's show.

Baseball’s winter meetings are over. Could Rick Hahn have done more this week? Plus which closer will have a better season- current Cubs closer Wade Davis or former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman?

How much upheaval will there be on the Bears’ coaching staff this offseason? Plus are the Bulls in slump or are we finally seeing the real team show up?

Listen to this episode of the SportsTalk Live podcast here:

Rick Hahn: White Sox 'still thoroughly, deeply engaged' in trade talks as meetings close

Rick Hahn: White Sox 'still thoroughly, deeply engaged' in trade talks as meetings close

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The White Sox have a pair of relievers to dangle and have become increasingly busier with two of three free-agent closers off the board.

Prior to leaving the Winter Meetings on Thursday, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was asked if a pool of relievers including closer David Robertson and setup man Nate Jones had drawn much interest.

Having already traded Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, it’s believed the White Sox are willing to part with most anyone if the price is right. It sounds as if that possibility has improved after the Yankees’ late night signing of Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday, two days after the San Francisco Giants signed Mark Melancon. With only Kenley Jansen still left in free agency and due a big salary, Robertson, who has two years and $25 million left on his deal, could solve several teams’ relief needs. Jones is also a draw with potentially five years left on his current team-friendly deal, which includes two club options and one mutual option for 2021.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“We’ve had a lot of interesting conversations on a number of different fronts involving are players,” Hahn said. “And yes, we still have reliever pieces and starting pieces that are appealing to various teams throughout the league. I don’t think anything is going to happen between now and the time I go pick up my bags and head to the airport. But still thoroughly engaged, deeply engaged on a number of different fronts.”

Despite adding five pitchers and two position players through their first two moves, the White Sox still have a long list of desires. That list potentially includes a long-term starting catcher and another big bat among others.