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White Sox stay hot with 4-3 win over A’s

Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski left tags out OaklAthletics' Coco Crisp home plate during ninth inning baseball game Friday

Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, left, tags out Oakland Athletics' Coco Crisp at home plate during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 13, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. Crisp was attempting to steal home from third base. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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Updated: August 20, 2011 12:32AM

OAKLAND, Calif. — Adam Dunn has tried them all, and he has ­finally settled into a designated-hitter ­routine.

And the winner is …

“I sit there and watch the game and don’t do anything until about two batters before I’m due up,’’ the White Sox first-year DH said Friday. “Then and I go down [to the indoor hitting cage], stretch a little and take 10 or 15 swings and I go with it.’’

Dunn was fortunate to be in the dugout to see one of baseball’s most exciting plays, a straight attempted steal of home. The A’s Coco Crisp was out on the play to end the eighth inning and it helped preserve a 4-3 Sox victory, their fifth in the last six games.

Dunn, a DH for the first time in a career, has embraced the new role and is bent on making the most of it. He’s finding out it’s not such a bad thing after all.

“If you’re hitting and winning it’s probably the best gig you can have, you know?’’ Dunn said. “I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable doing it. Trying to get where it’s second nature.’’

Dunn (0-for-4, three strikeouts) wasn’t hitting Friday but he and the Sox have been winning thanks in large part to his revived bat.

With left-hander Matt Thornton’s back to Crisp and working from a full windup, Crisp made a dash for the plate, but Sox catcher A.J. ­Pierzynski lunged forward and tagged Crisp, sliding head first, on the right shoulder for the out.

“It’s one of those plays if it works it’s unbelievable, and if it doesn’t you say, ‘What are you doing,’ ’’ Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Everything has to go perfect.

“Our percentage of [giving up] base stealers is so bad, they tried to steal home plate, too,’’ Guillen quipped.

Sergio Santos’ save percentage remained perfect in his fourth opportunity. Santos, who struck out cleanup man Hideki Matsui and Kurt Suzuki to end the game with a perfect ninth inning, has not been scored on in 18 innings.

Jesse Crain rescued Phil Humber (3-3) in the seventh, but not before the three batters who opened the inning with singles against Humber scored to trim the Sox lead to 4-3. Humber, whose ERA is 2.33 over his last four starts, had cruised through six scoreless innings with two hits allowed.

“Phil was great,’’ Guillen said. “He was a little under the weather, too.’’

The Sox scored four in the second against former Sox right-hander Brandon McCarthy (1-4), who walked two in the inning — the only bad one of his seven — and made an error when he had Juan Pierre picked off at first.

Omar Vizquel had an RBI double and Gordon Beckham a sacrifice fly in the inning. After Vizquel’s double, the Sox had one hit — a single by Vizquel in which he was out trying to stretch into a double.

Despite his rough night, Dunn is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with five doubles, a home run, four RBI and seven runs scored in this stretch of six games and five victories.

“You know, if I would have ­started off hot as could be, I would have said, ‘Relax,’ ’’ he said. “There will be some rough spots coming through here.’ It’s how I am. I wish I was a lot more consistent player, but I’ve got to ride the streaks when they are good.’’

Settling into a routine between ­at-bats hasn’t hurt.

“It’s the best thing I’ve tried,’’ Dunn said. “I’ve tried everything else. I feel like I’m into the game because I’m sitting on the bench watching it.’’

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