Konerko, Dunn slug White Sox to fifth straight

Konerko, Dunn slug White Sox to fifth straight

Konerko, Dunn slug White Sox to fifth straight
ARLINGTON -- The last time Philip Humber took the mound, the White Sox completed a five-game losing streak. He continued another streak Saturday, this time a stretch of five straight wins.

After losing five in a row and falling 1 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central, the White Sox have reeled off five consecutive victories to give themselves a 2 1/2-game lead over Detroit in the division. Humber bounced back nicely from his last start, giving up one run over six-plus innings, while Adam Dunn hit his Major League-leading 31st home run as the White Sox beat the Rangers, 5-2, at the Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday night.

"He was great," manager Robin Ventura said of his starting pitcher. "You see him getting ahead, really in the strike zone. That's when he's at his best. He's able to command the strike zone throwing his fastball to both sides of the plate. I think toward the end, he was getting a little tired but, again, a great lineup and to be able to pitch like that is impressive."

Humber surrendered six runs on seven hits over three innings while throwing a season-low 57 pitches and failing to strike out any of the 16 batters he faced in a loss to the Tigers on Sunday. He followed that outing with his seventh quality start, throwing 61 of his 100 pitches for strikes and holding the Rangers hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position. Humber improved to 5-5 in a victory that has the White Sox on the verge of sweeping the Rangers for the second time this month.

"We had a good game plan going in and [catcher] Tyler [Flowers] did a good job," Humber said. "To come in here and beat a tough team is always good. We have a chance to sweep them tomorrow. We like our spot."

Humber held the Rangers scoreless in the first four innings until Mike Napoli's home run, his 16th, led off the fifth. That cut the White Sox lead to 5-1, which was the score when Humber left in the seventh inning. Jesse Crain and Brett Myers threw scoreless seventh and eighth innings before Napoli's RBI groundout against Matt Thornton in the ninth.

"[Humber] threw well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It looked like his cutter was pretty good and he had a good breaking ball. Although he threw well, there were times in some situations where all we had to do was the put the ball in play. You never know what might have happened, but we didn't get it done."

Paul Konerko and Dunn provided plenty of run support for Humber, each hitting two-run homers. Dunn was credited with a single after reaching on a ball that deflected off the glove of second baseman Ian Kinsler. Konerko hit the next pitch Rangers starter Matt Harrison threw 416 feet over the left-field wall. Dunn hit a 407-foot blast the following inning, helping the White Sox record their fifth straight win over the Rangers.

"I hit a fastball," Dunn said of his homer. "I know [Harrison]'s got really good pitches, a sinker. He'll pop a four-seamer in there and he has a curve, slider, and changeup. You really got to try to zone him up and have a plan at what you want to do. If you get away from your plan at all, he's going to get you."

"I feel like there were two pitches I made mistakes on, two of them were home runs," Harrison said. "I thought there were some good pitches I made. They put some good swings on them. I missed my spot on Konerko. I should have stayed in on Dunn. I was having good success pounding him in and getting weak contact. I tried to go down and away and it cut around front. It was just a rough start."

The White Sox triumph came on the same night they acquired Twins southpaw Francisco Liriano for infielder Eduardo Escobar and left-hander Pedro Hernandez. Escobar went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and his third RBI as replacement for shortstop Alexei Ramirez. He had two doubles in his previous 35 games this season.

"I think that's the ironic part of all of this," Ventura said. "He gets an opportunity and plays well and guys are happy for him for the way he played. It's just part of the game. He's kind of a little brother, a son to most guys. He's taking [the trade] hard and it's part of baseball."

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