Three homers help White Sox end slide

Three homers help White Sox end slide

Three homers help White Sox end slide
CHICAGO -- In May, the questions were about why the White Sox couldn't win at home.

On Monday afternoon, the concern was a floundering offense.

By the time Monday's third inning rolled around, the White Sox proved their lack of concern was justified.

Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios each homered and right-hander Gavin Floyd spun a quality start in his return from the disabled list, as the White Sox beat the Twins, 7-4, at U.S. Cellular Field.

The win snapped the club's five-game losing streak, a skid that dropped the White Sox behind the Tigers in the American League Central. The victory was just the fourth in the last 12 games for the White Sox.

"When we swing it like that, we're pretty good," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Again, it's one of those where you go through a tough stretch and a night like tonight you hope carries over."

Although the White Sox remain in second place, they showed Monday their offensive struggles of the last 10 games -- in which they hit only .228 and averaged 3.1 runs per game -- were an aberration.

"You've heard it a thousand times: hitting's contagious," Dunn said. "Hopefully it carries over, but obviously you're not guaranteeing anything."

Chicago's powerful lineup chased Twins starter Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.31 ERA) after 2 2/3 innings, as the middle of the White Sox order pounded the left-hander. Konerko hit a three-run home run in the first inning, his first homer since June 29 in New York.

Dunn hit a two-run homer in the third, taking Liriano deep to dead center. It was Dunn's 29th homer, putting him in sole possession of the Major League lead, one ahead of Texas' Josh Hamilton.

Rios followed Dunn's homer with his own two-run shot, launching Liriano's offering deep into the left-field seats. Rios is hitting .376 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in his last 23 games.

Liriano was removed two batters later, allowing seven runs on seven hits. Left-hander Brian Duensing held the White Sox to three hits in four innings of scoreless relief.

"He got the ball up, and they made him pay. These guys can do that very well," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Liriano. "We've seen them hit like this before. That's a bunch of guys that when you make a mistake, that's what's going to happen."

White Sox leadoff hitter Alejandro De Aza -- who entered hitting only .180 in his last 14 games -- had three hits and stole a base as the White Sox won at U.S. Cellular for the ninth time in their last 11 games.

The South Siders' recent play in Chicago -- 18-9 in their last 27 games -- is in stark contrast from how they began the season at their home ballpark, going 7-13 in their first 20 games there. Monday's crowd of 37,788 -- the second-largest of the season, behind only Opening Day -- also provided quite the home-field advantage.

Floyd (8-8, 4.46), who was on the disabled list with right elbow tendinitis, earned the win by allowing three runs (two earned) and walking six in six innings. He showed rust early, throwing 27 pitches in the first, 17 in the second and allowing a run in each inning, but settled down in the middle innings.

Sloppy play behind Floyd hampered the right-hander in the fifth and sixth innings. A throwing error by De Aza allowed a run to score in the fifth, while third baseman Kevin Youkilis was charged with two errors -- one fielding and one throwing -- on a play in the sixth. The three errors were a season high for the White Sox, who had committed only one in their last nine games.

Despite the three miscues, the defense was mainly Floyd's friend. The White Sox turned five double plays for the first time since twisting six on Aug. 7, 2009, and shortstop Alexei Ramirez made a leaping, run-scoring catch in the ninth.

The Twins tied a franchise record by hitting into those five double plays.

"All our guys realize we can play defense," Ventura said. "Those two in the middle [second baseman Gordon Beckham and Ramirez] did a great job of getting ground balls and getting Gav out of some situations where, if they get through or you don't get those double plays, it's a different kind of game."

Minnesota's Ryan Doumit homered in the eighth off right-hander Jesse Crain before Brett Myers made his White Sox debut, retiring the lone batter he faced.

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.