Adam Dunn awakens as Sox’ bats erupt in 12-5 win over Twins
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org June 27, 2012 9:38PM
Adam Dunn, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Doumit
Updated: July 29, 2012 5:15PM
MINNEAPOLIS — It was more of the same from Chris Sale and Alex Rios, and — welcome back — more of the Adam Dunn the White Sox have missed for a week or so.
Breaking an 0-for-24 slump and stopping a big run on strikeouts, Dunn launched a 410-foot opposite-field homer to left against Nick Blackburn (4-5) and Rios followed with a homer in the Sox’ four-run fifth inning that broke open their 12-5 victory against the Minnesota Twins.
After scoring 13 runs in the last five games, the Sox (40-35) got a dozen on 21 hits to take the rubber game and win their second consecutive series after losing five in a row. They leave the bright sun of Minnesota for the bright lights of New York, where they open a four-game series against the Yankees on Thursday night. It will match the first-place teams from the AL Central and AL East.
“We haven’t swung the bats well in two weeks,’’ said Dunn, whose 24th homer was his first since June 15. “Hopefully this will get us rolling.’’
Kevin Youkilis had three hits including a double high off the right-center field wall and two RBI. Youkilis, batting third and playing first base to give Paul Konerko a day off, is 5-for-12 since general manager Ken Williams pulled off what — based on three games in Minnesota — could be one of the most significant trades in baseball this season.
“He grinds on a pitcher and wears them out,’’ Ventura said. “Not just the double but the single before Adam’s homer, the way he grinded that at-bat, was big for me.’’
Every Sox who batted got in the hit column. Dunn also hit two singles, including an infield nubber down the third-base line. All five balls he put in play were to the left of second base, a sure sign that he’s trying to steer clear of pulling everything, a habit that coincided with his slump.
“When he’s fouling a lot of balls down the first base line you sense he’s pulling off a bit,’’ Ventura said. “Today the focus was going the other way.’’
“That was the approach today,’’ Dunn said. “I didn’t care if I got jammed I just wanted to make sure the bat path was going the right way. I stuck with the game plan and it worked.’’
Alejandro De Aza had three singles after going hitless in the first two games of the series, and off-the-bench starters third baseman Eduardo Escobar, left fielder Jordan Danks and second baseman Orlando Hudson each had two singles. A.J. Pierzynski tripled off the top of the center field wall and had a sacrifice fly.
Rios had three hits — his 10th homer, a double and a single. He drove in two runs.
The Sox hadn’t had this much offense in Minneapolis since they had 17 runs on 23 hits at the Metrodome on May 23, 2004.
“It’s good to win the series and stay in first place,’’ Youkilis said. “It’s easy to get acclimated to a good group of guys and coaching staff. It’s been awesome.
“There’s so many good players here. There is some depth on this team, and with the schedule now, you’re going to have to use all of your players.’’
Sale (9-2, 2.27) was All-Star caliber yet again, leaving after 93 pitches over seven innings with two runs allowed on six hits. He struck out five and walked one.
“You get that kind of run support and it calms you down,’’ Sale said. “You just go out there and execute.’’
“It’s hard to keep saying the same things over and over again,’’ Ventura said. “He’s a mature kid.’’
Sale is scheduled to pitch the last day before the All-Star Game, which would eliminate him from pitching in the midsummer classic, but Ventura said he’ll adjust the rotation.