White Sox beat Indians, 5-4, on Adam Dunn’s two home runs
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org September 24, 2012 11:38PM
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Adam Dunn #32 of the Chicago White Sox follows through on a three-run home run scoring Jordan Danks #7 and Kevin Youkilis #20 during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field on September 24, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Indians 5-4. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Updated: October 26, 2012 2:17PM
Adam Dunn had a simple reminder Monday before the White Sox played the Cleveland Indians.
‘‘You can’t worry about what other teams are doing,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘We’re in first place. That’s what people are still forgetting.
‘‘If we win as many games as we can and play well, we will make the playoffs. We don’t have to watch when you have a lead. You don’t have to scoreboard-watch. It’s nice if we win and they lose, but if we win them all and they win them all, guess who goes?’’
Then Dunn rescued the Sox with two home runs, none bigger than his three-run blast in the eighth inning off Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano (3-3) that proved to be enough in a 5-4 victory.
Matt Thornton was charged with a run in the ninth, and the Indians had the tying run at second with two outs before Donnie Veal, who gave up an RBI double, got the final out for his first save.
The victory went to Brett Myers (3-3) in relief.
‘‘We have nine games left, and hopefully tonight kind of jump-starts us,’’ Dunn said.
The victory snapped the Sox’ five-game skid and preserved their one-game lead in the American League Central over the Detroit Tigers, who beat the Kansas City Royals.
‘‘Knowing the situation and everything that goes with it, they were big at-bats,’’ manager Robin Ventura said of Dunn’s 40th and 41st homers. They came after he had struck out twice against Indians starter Zach McAllister.
Dunn entered the game in a 2-for-21 slump, mirroring the offensive woes of the team during a deflating road trip. He admitted he wasn’t seeing the ball well in Anaheim, where the Angels swept a three-game weekend series. Dunn watched video and worked on ‘‘slowing everything down.’’
He has hit 40 or more homers six times and said No. 41 was one of the biggest of his career.
‘‘We were struggling to score runs,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘I had been swinging and missing for about a week.’’
The Sox trailed 3-2 with two outs in the eighth and two men on when Dunn connected, taking Chris Sale off the hook for what would’ve been his first loss at home since May 12, a span of 10 home starts.
‘‘We’ve had some pretty big wins, but pulling that one out was huge,’’ said Sale, who labored through seven innings, giving up a season-high 10 hits but only three runs after throwing a season-high 118 pitches.
A crowd of 20,206 watched as the Sox managed only four hits off McAllister, who gave up a run in the fifth when Alex Rios singled and scored on a fielder’s choice by Alexei Ramirez and another in the sixth on Dunn’s first homer
The Sox thought they had a run in the fourth when Alejandro De Aza raced from first to home on Kevin Youkilis’ double. But De Aza was tagged out on a close play at the plate.
‘‘These three games are going to be as tough as any three we’ve played,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘They know they’re going home, and they would like nothing more than to see us go home — and I’ve been in that situation. This is their playoff.’’