With Paul Konerko only now coming back from a brief sabbatical, a sad struggling offense has had to slowly come to grips with the idea that a new era is afoot, and that new heroes will have to emerge.
Apparently, they’ll be just fine, at least as long as they’re facing the Twins
On the strength of their third-straight 10-hit game (the streak started with this series), the White Sox scored a season-high nine–nine!–runs behind two–two!–Adam Dunn–Dunn!?!–home runs, making a winner out of Dylan Axelrod and a series-loser out of the Twins in a 9-4 victory.
Dayan Viciedo and Adam Dunn dominating a game offensively wouldn’t have sounded like a Wayans Brothers’ parody last May, but given the horror of the last month, there was a positively Bunuel-ian vibe to the way the pair reeled in and abused Twins starter Mike Pelfrey. Dunn saw an absurd 31 pitches in five plate appearances. Viciedo averaged over four pitchers per PA.
Dunn wiped away an early 2-0 deficit in the third inning by swatting a high full count changeup over the 411-foot sign in dead center field. The eight pitch at-bat was laborious for Pelfrey, but nowhere near as brutal as the 10-pitch at-bat Dunn worked him before crushing a line-drive RBI double off the wall in the fourth. Despite getting an 0-2 count, Pelfrey simply had nothing to put Dunn away with, and though he’s typically abominable at contact, Dunn kept fouling off pitches until he got a particularly ineffective sinker to crush.
The inning prior, Dayan Viciedo drilled a towering fly-ball, opposite field solo home run off another high inside sinker, which gave the Sox their first lead of the day (3-2). Dunn and Viciedo now have each homered in the past two games, and Dayan has been piping hot since returning from his injury.
In 6 games back from DL, Dayan Viciedo has 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 BB, and a .520 OBP
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 15, 2013
And Dunn, who added another two-run bomb on Josh Roenicke in the eighth inning, put together an easy contender for his best game of the season, and possibly his best ever as a White Sox too. He went 3-4 with a walk, five RBI and 10 total bases. Meanwhile, steady hands Alex Rios and Conor Gillaspie reached base seven out of the 10 times they went to the plate and scored four times between them, so it wasn’t entirely a ‘black is white, cats are friendly, bacon is healthy and tastes terrible’ type of day after all.
It was the appropriate offensive outburst for a battle of back-end starters. While his counterpart couldn’t escape the fifth inning, Dylan Axelrod spread out his beating (nine hits) over 5.1 innings and only allowed three runs. He was wisely pulled after walking his first batter of the game in the sixth, shortly after he had been visited by Herm Schneider for discomfort in his leg.
Matt Lindstrom was disappointingly shaky in relief of Axelrod after coming on with a single runner on, one out and a 5-2 lead to protect. He allowed a stolen base, an RBI single to Jamey Carroll and a Joe Mauer double in rapid succession. The only out he garnered still plated a run, and brought Justin Morneau up to the plate with the tying run at third base. It was early in the game still, but Ventura fired his one left-handed bullet and brought on Matt Thornton to jam Morneau up and in to close out the threat.
Ventura’s aggression paid off, as a two-out Jeff Keppinger–yes, the guy we’ve been writing about–double broke the game open in the seventh.
Series wins are nice, being within four games of .500 makes things smell a bit better than they used to, but the important takeaway here is the method. A locked-in Dayan Viciedo is a useful tool, and maybe…maybe Dunn is on to something here.
Team Record: 17-21
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan