|Chi. White Sox (82-71) «||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||3||x||5||7||1|
CHICAGO -- Frustrated after a pair of strikeouts, Adam Dunn watched video of his first two at-bats between innings to see why he was missing so many pitches in such an important game for the Chicago White Sox.
Assessing his swing with hitting coach Jeff Manto, Dunn apparently figured out the problem.
|More on Indians-White Sox|
|More MLB coverage|
The burly slugger homered in consecutive plate appearances, including a clutch three-run shot in the eighth inning, and the White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4 on Monday night to maintain their one-game lead in the AL Central.
Dunn also went deep in the sixth as Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak and stayed in front of second-place Detroit, which beat Kansas City 6-2. The top two teams in the division each have nine games left.
"The last homer, that probably was the most important so far in my career," Dunn said. "That was a win we needed."
The designated hitter drove an 0-2 pitch from Vinnie Pestano (3-3) over the wall in right-center with runners on the corners and two out in the eighth, putting Chicago ahead 5-3. Kevin Youkilis kept the inning alive with an infield single off third baseman Jack Hannahan's glove before Dunn connected for No. 41 on the year.
"We were struggling to score runs," said Dunn, who entered the game in a 2-for-21 skid. "That guy's tough man. I hadn't been seeing the ball real good. He left the pitch over and it was one I was kind of swinging and missing at for about a week. Just happened to hit the barrel."
Said Pestano: "You can't make mistakes to those guys. You have to get ahead and you have to bring it. I wasn't throwing my off-speed for strikes tonight. That had me leaning on fastball, missed a spot and he got me."
Brett Myers (3-3) pitched the eighth for the win. The Indians got a run in the ninth when Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-out RBI double off Donnie Veal, who then retired Jason Kipnis on a grounder to convert his first save opportunity of the season.
Dunn reached 40 homers in a season for the first time since 2008 and the sixth time in his career. It's quite a turnaround from last season, when he batted .159 with 11 homers in his first year with Chicago.
This has become one of the most enjoyable and crucial stretches of his career. The slugger has never reached the playoffs in 12 big league seasons.
"It's baseball. I don't look at it being important or this or that. This is your job," Dunn said. "Obviously everybody wants to get to the postseason, but it's just fun. It's fun right now when every single game matters. I think a lot of times you put a lot of pressure on yourself. Take a step back once in a while."
And that's what he did after falling into the 0-2 hole against Pestano.
"With Youk getting that base hit, it's a spot you want to be as a hitter," Dunn said. "People look at it as pressure or this and that but to me, I love being in that situation. Obviously they're a lot tougher than other situations but sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't."
Cleveland starter Zach McAllister struck out seven in six innings and was charged with two runs and four hits.
The White Sox had another run cut down at the plate in the fourth when Alejandro De Aza tried to score from first on Youkilis' double into the left-field corner. Catcher Lou Marson took the relay throw from third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and first base umpire Dan Bellino, who was covering the plate, called De Aza out.
A replay showed that De Aza's foot hit the plate before the tag.
The White Sox tied it in the fifth on another close play after Alex Rios singled and A. J. Pierzynski walked. After a fielder's choice put runners at the corners, Alexei Ramirez hit a grounder to shortstop and just beat the relay throw to first, allowing Rios to score on the failed double play.
Cleveland grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third on Kipnis' single and Asdrubal Cabrera's double to right.
|Adam Dunn hits two homers, including a big three-run shot, to lead the White Sox past the Indians. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
Majestic Chicago White Sox T-Shirt
$14.99 Shop Now!
|Shin-Soo Choo, RF||5||0||2||1||0||1||0||.280|
|Jason Kipnis, 2B||5||1||2||0||0||1||2||.257|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||4||0||2||1||0||1||2||.272|
|Carlos Santana, DH||1||1||1||0||3||0||0||.258|
|Russ Canzler, 1B||4||1||1||2||0||0||5||.269|
|Jack Hannahan, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.241|
|Vinny Rottino, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.145|
|Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.261|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.234|
|Lou Marson, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.222|
|Ezequiel Carrera, CF||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.248|
|2B - Shin-Soo Choo (39, Veal), Jason Kipnis (20, Sale), Asdrubal Cabrera 2 (34, Sale, Sale)|
|HR - Russ Canzler (2, Sale)|
|RBI - Shin-Soo Choo (58), Asdrubal Cabrera (62), Russ Canzler 2 (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Shin-Soo Choo (28), Asdrubal Cabrera (21)|
|CS - Carlos Santana (5, 2nd base by Myers/Pierzynski), Lou Marson 2 (2, 2nd base by Sale/Pierzynski, 2nd base by Sale/Pierzynski)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Outfield Assists - Vinny Rottino 1|
|DP - Marson-A. Cabrera|
|Joe Smith (H,19)||1||0||0||0||0||3||0||3.14|
|Vinnie Pestano (BS,3; L,3-3)||1||3||3||3||1||0||1||2.44|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zach McAllister 92-56, Joe Smith 15-10, Vinnie Pestano 30-18|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach McAllister 7-2, Vinnie Pestano 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Zach McAllister 22, Joe Smith 3, Vinnie Pestano 7|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Alejandro De Aza, CF-LF||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.279|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.232|
|Adam Dunn, DH||4||2||2||4||0||2||1||.210|
|Paul Konerko, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.302|
|Alex Rios, RF||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.299|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C||2||0||0||0||1||2||0||.278|
|Dayan Viciedo, LF||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.251|
|Orlando Hudson, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.195|
|Alexei Ramirez, SS||3||0||0||1||0||1||1||.268|
|Gordon Beckham, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.239|
|a- Dan Johnson, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.357|
|Jordan Danks, PR-CF||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.220|
|a-walked for Beckham in the 8th|
|2B - Kevin Youkilis (15, McAllister)|
|HR - Adam Dunn 2 (41, McAllister, Pestano)|
|RBI - Adam Dunn 4 (94), Alexei Ramirez (70)|
|2-OUT RBI - Adam Dunn 4 (24)|
|SB - Alex Rios (23, 2nd base off McAllister/Marson)|
|CS - Dayan Viciedo (2, 2nd base by McAllister/Marson)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Beckham-A. Ramirez-Konerko, Youkilis-Beckham-Konerko, Thornton-A. Ramirez-Konerko|
|E - Kevin Youkilis (9, Throwing)|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Brett Myers (W,3-7)||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||3.38|
|Matt Thornton (H,26)||0.2||2||1||1||0||0||0||3.32|
|Donnie Veal (S,1)||0.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.75|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Sale 116-77, Brett Myers 15-7, Matt Thornton 9-7, Donnie Veal 7-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Sale 10-4, Matt Thornton 1-0, Donnie Veal 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Chris Sale 30, Brett Myers 3, Matt Thornton 3, Donnie Veal 2|
|Attendance - 20206|
|Game Time - 2:37|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Mike Estabrook|