De Aza's slam helps White Sox outslug Twins

De Aza's slam helps White Sox outslug Twins

De Aza's slam helps White Sox outslug Twins
CHICAGO -- There don't seem to be any baseball-appropriate Snoop Dogg songs among the many successful recordings this charismatic and consummate entertainer has put out over the years.

But now that Snoop is "rolling with the White Sox," as he proclaimed after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field, and now that the White Sox are rolling over opponents, as they did in an 11-8 victory over the Twins before 20,167, he might just have to write one for the South Siders.

Snoop's pregame presence drew many cheers from the fans and attention from the players on both sides, but it wasn't the clear-cut top moment of the night. That honor belongs to the more than 3,100 feet of home runs combined by both sides, with the White Sox (23-22) winning the sheer number battle by a 5-3 margin.

Thursday's successful slugfest gave the White Sox their second straight series victory and first series victory at home since April 13-15 over the Tigers. The win moved them over .500 for the first time since May 1 (12-11) and kept them 3 1/2 games behind the American League Central leading-Indians, with Cleveland coming to town this weekend.

Five different players hit home runs for the White Sox, with the long ball getting contagious even though the wind wasn't exactly howling out.

"You never know where the wind is blowing in this ballpark," said White Sox right fielder Alex Rios, who homered for his second straight game. "It swirls around, and even though the flags are showing one way, the wind could be blowing another way. We had good approaches at the plate and I don't think the wind had any influence."

"Once you see a teammate hit a home run, you want to hit a home run," center fielder and leadoff man Alejandro De Aza said.

This quote from De Aza could be the bass line for Snoop's White Sox classic. On Thursday, it simply played out as reality.

A.J. Pierzynski went deep for the seventh time this season, beginning the home run barrage with one out in the second against Cole De Vries (0-1). After Minnesota (15-29) rallied to take a 5-4 lead against Philip Humber and Nate Jones (2-0) via a four-run fifth, the White Sox launched three homers during a six-run sixth to permanently regain control.

Paul Konerko tied the game with his leadoff blast in the sixth, giving him 10 for the season and putting him just one away from joining Frank Thomas as the only players to reach 400 homers or more in a White Sox uniform. Konerko had two more hits in the victory, raising his average to .384 and giving him an astonishing 19 hits in 34 at-bats, with four homers and nine RBIs during his current 10-game hitting streak.

Rios followed with a 395-foot blast to left, ending the night for De Vries. But it was De Aza who delivered the game-deciding shot, blasting his first career grand slam off of the left-handed throwing Brian Duensing following Dayan Viciedo's double, Alexei Ramirez's single and a walk to Orlando Hudson.

De Aza looked as if he had homered leading off the fifth, but when the call went to instant replay, it was overturned and ruled a foul ball. De Aza eventually struck out looking, but exacted his replay revenge in his next at-bat.

"I'm just trying to put the ball in play and trying to get a fly ball, and yeah, I did get a fly ball," De Aza said with a laugh of the grand slam on a 1-0 pitch. "I was just trying to hit the ball as hard as I can, and the fly ball got big."

"You score eight runs and you think you should have a chance," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But they put a lot of balls in the seats on us tonight."

Humber had a rough outing, giving up five runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings while fanning four and walking three. He now stands at 0-2 with an 8.21 ERA over six starts since throwing the 21st perfect game in Major League history on April 21 in Seattle. Humber also has come up winless over his last 12 home outings.

"I've got to figure out what's going on," Humber said. "Even though I had good results in the first couple innings there, I didn't feel like I was throwing the ball the way I need to throw the ball to be successful.

"Eventually, the results are going to catch up to you. I'm glad the team picked me up. What a great job by the lineup tonight, by the bullpen coming in there. But obviously, I'm very disappointed in that effort."

Jones, Will Ohman, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Addison Reed picked up Humber, despite two mammoth homers from Justin Morneau covering a total of 833 feet. It was the offense on this night that did the job, with Viciedo's eighth-inning blast completing the White Sox first five-homer barrage since July 11, 2010, against the Royals.

When facing Cleveland this weekend, the White Sox will have to roll without Snoop. But they hope the potent attack visible during this 6-1 run stays around.

"Just the way they're swinging, you could see it sort of coming over the weekend," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Just the intensity and quality at-bats that we're having, that's the thing that kind of keeps it going as everybody kind of continues to do that and grind out at-bats.

"That's what they were doing tonight. They were late in the counts and still putting on good swings."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.