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Adam Dunn’s two solo shots not enough in 3-2 loss to Blue Jays

Adam Dunn;

Adam Dunn;

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Updated: September 15, 2012 6:24AM



TORONTO — Sight seen at Rogers Centre 3½ hours before the White Sox played the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night: Adam Dunn, former scholarship quarterback at the University of Texas, throwing deep routes to Sox pitchers in the outfield.

Sight seen about four hours later: Dunn hitting his 32nd home run of the season and 397th of his career: a 469-foot shot to center against Carlos Villanueva. Later still, Dunn provided a shorter but more dramatic No.  33 leading off the ninth, an opposite-field poke against Casey Janssen that tied the score at 2.

But with no other offense to speak of on a night when they struck out 16 times, the Sox fell to the Jays 3-2 on David Cooper’s one-out RBI single against Nate Jones that drove in Kelly Johnson.

‘‘You want your guys to be better,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘Besides Adam, we didn’t get anything going. That was a big one in the ninth, but we have to get something else going besides waiting for home runs.’’

The significance of Dunn playing catch with a football? It’s all part of a more active slugger who weighed as much as 298 pounds last season but carried 40 fewer pounds around the bases on Monday’s pair of home-run trots. Dunn is down to 258.

‘‘He’s doing more running, he’s playing a lot more first base, which keeps him active, and he’s watching what he eats, taking care of his diet,’’ Sox strength and conditioning coordinator Allen Thomas said. ‘‘So you’re going to lose some weight.’’

Dunn says he’s never felt better, and he couldn’t have felt much worse last season. His weight escalated as his worst season ever dragged on. Thomas visited his home in Texas several times, as he does with most players, and found a player determined to start the 2012 season in shape.

Thomas said working out during the season is the easy part. Working out and watching the diet during the season is the challenge.

“That’s when you have to take care of yourself,’’ Thomas said. “During the season is when everything is in front of you — the late nights, the travel. He’s taken ownership of it himself.’’

Dunn runs his sprints, chucks the pigskin around and is watching his diet.

“He’s been in the weight room, getting his cardio in,’’ Thomas said. “There’s no reason for him to try and get stronger, he’s already stronger than an ox. You’re just trying to maintain his endurance and get through a season.’’

Dunn ended a 13-game homer drought, his longest this season, and hit the 1,000 milestone for RBI. He has 78 this season.

Sox starter Jake Peavy gave up two runs over eight innings, once again coming away with a victory despite pitching well enough to win.

“Every team has the one guy who gets screwed; it’s definitely him,’’ Dunn said. “We can’t score runs when he’s on the mound and he keeps us in every single game.’’

Edwin Encarnicion singled in ninth-place hitter Anthoy Gose after Peavy hit Gose and then Johnson two batters later. Moises Sierra hit his first homer leading off the seventh.

“He always goes out there knowing each pitch can cost him,’’ Ventura said. “We need to do a better job giving him more room to pitch with.’’

Dunn has struck out a whopping 167 times this season, but he and Alexei Ramirez were the only Sox not to strike out.

“We’re having trouble scoring runs right now,’’ Dunn said.

If Dunn gets hot again, that will help. Being in better physical condition figures to keep him going strong to the finish.

“Last year I had some nagging things,’’ Dunn said. “This year I had one little thing [around the All-Star break]. But my body feels great.’’

Leyson Septimo, who walked Johnson on four pitches, took the loss.



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