SEATTLE (AP) — This is the kind of performance the Chicago White Sox were expecting from Adam Dunn when they gave him a big contract before the 2011 season.
Dunn hit two homers, doubled and drove in five runs, powering the Chicago White Sox past the Seattle Mariners 7-3 Friday night.
Dunn had just 11 homers and hit .159 last season in his first with the White Sox after signing a four-year, $56 million deal before 2011. But he appears to have regained his balance at the plate with the help of several unorthodox drills.
“I thought it was kind of crazy, but, when we started doing it, I started feeling . getting my balance back and stuff like that,” Dunn said.
Chicago hitting coach Jeff Manto suggested the exercises, including holding a medicine ball between his legs during practice swings to keep from lunging. The benefits were visible Friday.
Dunn connected for a three-run homer off Hector Noesi (1-2) in the second inning to make it 6-0. He hit his third home run of the season in the eighth, giving him 31 multihomer games and the first since joining the White Sox. It was the first time Dunn had homered against Seattle in 12 career games.
“He keeps staying at it, and that’s all we’re asking him to do,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s staying positive and working, and I see that happening more often. He is going to have a few strikeouts, but he’s able to put that on the side and still come out and have quality at-bats.”
Chris Sale (2-1) struck out 11 in 6 1-3 innings. He gave up three runs and seven hits for the White Sox.
“They say pitching wins ballgames, but, today, that wasn’t the case the way they were swinging the bats,” Sale said.
Said Sale: “Sporadic with my control at times. Got to give it to A.J. (Pierzynski). He really got me through that game.”
Noesi lasted just 1 1-3 innings. He gave up six hits and six runs to send his ERA soaring to 9.49 from 5.73. Erasmo Ramirez pitched one-hit ball for 3 2-3 innings.
Noesi threw 38 pitches in the first, including an 11-pitch walk to A.J. Pierzynski. Alejandro De Aza singled, Brent Morel walked and Dunn had an RBI double. Alex Rios’ sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
“He wasn’t able to locate his fastball, and his secondary stuff never really came into play,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “Just didn’t have it today.”
Jesus Montero hit his second home run of the season to center field in the sixth and Ichiro Suzuki singled home Brendan Ryan in the seventh to make it 6-3.
Seattle threatened from the start with back-to-back singles by Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley, putting runners on first and third with none out. But Sale struck out Suzuki and got Justin Smoak to ground into a double play.
The Mariners also put runners on second and third in the second inning, but could not score. They finally broke through in the third when Suzuki had a run-scoring double into the left field corner.
Mariners reliever Hisashi Iwakuma made his major league debut in the sixth inning. Iwakuma was the last player on an opening-day roster that wasn’t injured or sent to the minors to appear in a game this season. He pitched four innings and allowed just one run.
Casper Wells doubled twice for the Mariners which were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
NOTES: Former Mariner Ruppert Jones, the first player selected in the 1976 expansion draft, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday. . Since 2003, White Sox pitchers lead the majors with 801 quality starts. . The White Sox struck out 16 times Thursday, their most since Sept. 17, 2005, at Minnesota, when they struck out 16 times, too.
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