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Dunn says pressing White Sox need to relax

TUESDAY

SOX AT TWINS

The facts: 7:10 p.m., Ch. 26, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The starters: Dylan Axelrod (3-4, 4.26 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.12).

THE REST OF THE SERIES

Wednesday: 7:10, Ch. 26, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. Chris Sale (5-5, 2.43) vs. Kevin Correia (5-4, 3.97).

Thursday: 12:10, CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. John Danks (1-3, 4.50) vs. Scott Diamond (4-6, 5.29).

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Updated: July 19, 2013 6:42AM



HOUSTON — Adam Dunn said it’s not time to panic.

In fact, he said it’s time for the White Sox to relax.

The Sox were able to release some tension by finally defeating the Houston Astros 4-2 on Monday night, avoiding a four-game sweep and halting a four-game losing streak.

“People are pressing so much and you can see it,’’ Dunn said before the game. “They can say they’re not but you can see it.’’

The relief was evident in a jubilant Sox dugout after Dayan Viciedo hit a 400-foot bases-clearing triple to center field during the sixth inning against Astros starter Bud Norris. It came on a 1-2 count with two outs and put the Sox in front 4-2.

It was evident in the clubhouse, where team captain Paul Konerko chose unconventional music like “We are the World” and “Purple Rain” after the win.

Before Addison Reed pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 22 opportunities, reliever Jesse Crain pitched 12/3 perfect innings with three strikeouts to tie J.J. Putz’s club record with his 27th consecutive scoreless appearance. Crain (0.57 ERA), who last gave up a run on April 12, entered with the tying runs on first and third and struck out J.D. Martinez and Chris Carter.

“What he’s done has been amazing,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.

“I don’t want to go anywhere,’’ said Crain, the subject of trade rumors. “I love playing with these guys. There are always rumors out there. Obviously we need to turn things around and start winning.’’

Back to basics

Alejandro De Aza homered on Sunday, and he wasn’t even trying, confirming to him he’s better off hitting the ball where it’s pitched and letting his power come naturally.

“At the beginning of the season, I was looking for pitches to handle to hit [out of the park],’’ said De Aza, who led off Monday’s game by striking out for the 73rd time. “Lately, I’m trying to get my average up by hitting the ball the other way, which is what I need to do. I don’t have to hit home runs.’’

De Aza has nine, which is one off his career high and ranks third on the team behind Dunn and Alex Rios (11). Trying to go deep, and moving his hands too much in his stance, put him in a slump. But he was 22-for-62 with one homer, a triple and 11 RBI over his last 15 games through Sunday.

Pen help coming?

With lefty-heavy Minnesota and Kansas City up next, manager Robin Ventura didn’t rule out the possibility of a left-hander from Class AAA Charlotte joining Matt Thornton in the bullpen.

David Purcey, who has major-league experience, has held lefties to a .153 average for Charlotte.

“It’s possible,’’ Ventura said. “With Jake [ Peavy] going down, it creates opportunities for guys pitching well down there. They can come up.’’

Peavy, who will likely be out another three weeks, will be having an MRI soon to make sure his displaced rib fracture is healing. He said it still hurts to sneeze, cough and even sleep at times.



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