White Sox back sharp Sale with 21-hit attack

White Sox back sharp Sale with 21-hit attack

White Sox back sharp Sale with 21-hit attack
MINNEAPOLIS -- With a struggling offense, the White Sox relied on starting pitching to win four of their previous six. They received another sparkling start on Wednesday -- this time from Chris Sale -- but the order stirred to life and backed him with plenty of support.

Each player in Chicago's starting lineup recorded at least one hit, and Adam Dunn and Alex Rios hit back-to-back home runs in a 12-5 victory over the Twins in front of 36,539 at Target Field. It clinched Chicago's fifth straight series win against its division rival dating back to Aug. 5-7, 2011.

The White Sox totaled five runs in their previous three games. They used a season-high 21 hits to more than double that, with seven batters tallying two or more hits.

"With the way [the offense] has been going, it's nice," manager Robin Ventura said. "Adam busted it open with his homer. ... You get a run here, a run there, and you just keep the lineup moving. It was good for [Sale] to get a lead and get him out of there."

Sale, who won his ninth game of the year, extended his winning streak to six. The left-hander -- who entered the day with an American League-best 2.24 ERA -- allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings and improved to 5-0 in road starts.

"The way they swung the bats today, that was impressive," Sale said. "That's awesome. Any time you go out there and you get that kind of run support, it kind of calms you down a little bit. You can just go out there and just execute. It was their day today."

Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn held the White Sox to two runs until a four-run fifth. Dunn crushed a three-run homer off the upper deck in left field with two outs, driving in Alejandro De Aza and Kevin Youkilis after both singled. Dunn's 24th homer snapped an 0-for-24 streak and tied him with Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for 56th on the all-time list (389). He finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs.

"The last couple of weeks, I hadn't felt real good at the plate," Dunn said. "I was swinging at bad pitches. [On Tuesday], I started feeling a little better. Today, I felt good, so hopefully that'll continue."

Rios followed two pitches later with his 10th homer and second in as many days, the sixth time this season Chicago has left the park in back-to-back at-bats. Nine of Rios' home runs have come over the past 32 games.

Youkilis went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in his third game with the White Sox and was 5-for-12 in the series.

"It was good to win the series and we stay in first place," Youkilis said. "That's the cool thing, coming in and just helping out this team win ballgames. I'm trying to get acclimated as best I can. It's easy with a good group of guys and a great coaching staff. It's been awesome."

Chicago plated three more runs in the sixth as De Aza, Youkilis and Dunn all recorded RBI singles. The offensive outburst came with three everyday players -- Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo -- receiving days off.

Fill-ins Eduardo Escobar, Jordan Danks and Orlando Hudson went a combined 6-for-16. Danks drove in his first career run with a single in the seventh.

"They've got some depth on this team," Youkilis said. "With the schedule now, it's not easy compared with how it used to be. You're going to have to use all your players. ... It's good to have those guys and it's good to give guys like Paul a break."

The Twins' only runs against Sale came on a solo home run from Brian Dozier in the fifth and a sacrifice fly by Ben Revere in the sixth.

"He's got some funk to it," Minnesota's Justin Morneau said of Sale. "His breaking ball, for it to go for a strike, pretty much has to start behind you. And he's got pretty good feel for it also; when he needs to get a strike with it he can. And when he's ahead in the count and feels he needs to get you to chase, he's got that one. He has plus-velocity and reach back for 95 mph when he needs it. So it makes it tough to stay back with a 15-20 mph difference."

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.