Dunn, White Sox offense comes alive in 9-4 win

Dunn, White Sox offense comes alive in 9-4 win

May 15, 2013, 3:45 pm
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Never mind his results, Adam Dunn contends he has felt good all season.

He has had no physical ailments to slow him and for the most part, he’s been happy with his mental approach at the plate, too.

But following Wednesday afternoon, when Dunn carried the White Sox to victory with a season-best five RBIs and two home runs, the slugger now has the results to accompany his positive frame of mind.
Dunn paced a 14-hit attack with three run-scoring hits and the White Sox pounded the Minnesota Twins 9-4 in front of 35,613 at Target Field. Dunn and Alex Rios each reached base four times and the White Sox scored a season-high nine times to win only their second road series. Dayan Viciedo also homered for the White Sox, who finished the series with 36 hits, their highest three-game output of the season.

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The outburst helped Dylan Axelrod (1-3) earn his first victory since last Aug. 29.

“It’s frustrating when I have nothing to blame,” Dunn said. “I feel great. My body feels great. Everything feels like it’s supposed to, just haven’t got any results. It’s good to see, at least for a couple of games, the little tweaks and changes that we have made in my setup, that we’re getting some results out of it.”

Dunn got nearly 1,200 feet of results in the series finale.

After he drew an earlier walk against Mike Pelfrey, Dunn worked the count full in his third-inning at-bat and belted the eighth pitch 421-foot homer to left-center to tie the score at 2.

An inning later, Dayan Viciedo drove one 394 feet to the opposite way for a solo homer and a 3-2 lead.

But it was Dunn who owned the day.

After he was robbed of a homer Monday and had a single stolen Tuesday on a blown call by the umpire, Dunn didn’t mess around. He followed fifth-inning singles by Alexei Ramirez and Rios with an 11-pitch at-bat that resulted in an RBI double and a 4-2 lead. Viciedo’s sac fly gave the White Sox a 5-2 lead.

Then in the eighth, with the White Sox ahead 7-4, Dunn clobbered a 1-0 fastball from reliever Josh Roenicke for another two-run homer to left-center. It was the 35th multi-homer game of Dunn’s career.

“After a good at-bat you get a better sense something is going to happen instead of hoping it’s going to happen,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There might be a slight adjustment that is there, but it’s more a mental feeling good at the plate.”

Dunn could use the boost.

He entered the team’s 38th game with a .137 average and seven home runs. The slow start had to conjure up visions of two seasons ago, when Dunn hit a career-low .159 and finished the season with a career-worst 11 homers.

But what Dunn has shown the past few games has his teammates positive he isn’t far off from 2012 when he crushed 41 homers and was named the American League comeback player of the year.

“Hitting the ball the other way, hopefully that gets him locked in,” Axelrod said. “He’s been hitting the ball real hard the last couple of days here. I think we’re all excited to see that and hopefully it carries on into the next series.”

Rios thinks a Dunn surge could provide a lineup that is last in the AL in several major offensive categories a significant lift. One benefit is in how Dunn wears down pitchers. He saw 24 pitches in three plate appearances against Pelfrey, who was gone by the fifth inning.

“It’s going to make the lineup so much stronger,” Rios said. “Hopefully he can keep swinging it the way he’s swinging it.”

The offensive breakthrough didn’t stop with Dunn.

Jeff Keppinger snapped a 0-for-16 slump with a fifth-inning single. Keppinger also had a two-run double in the seventh inning to give the White Sox a 7-4 lead. It was only his third extra-base hit of the season and second multi-RBI contest.

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“It’s good to see (Dunn) kind of moving in that direction and swinging the bat,” Ventura said. “A lot of people did today, it was all good stuff offensively.”

Axelrod said his start was the most trying of his entire career at any level.

Of the six innings he started, Axelrod found trouble in five.

He allowed three straight hits to start the first inning and gave up three more in the second, including a solo homer to Eduardo Escobar. Even though the Twins had eight hits in their first 14 at-bats, Axelrod limited them to two runs.

Even though he allowed nine hits, walked a batter and hit another, Axelrod allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.

“It seemed like every inning I looked up it’d be first and second, no outs, one out,” Axelrod said. “It could have gone badly quickly. I just had to bear down with runners in scoring position and make pitches. I was proud of myself for that.”