Monday, May 23, 2011

Warm day kindles White Sox’ fire in 8-3 win over Dodgers

Turns out, all the White Sox
needed was to see their shadows.
A little sun went a long way for Alexei Ramirez and his teammates Sunday as the Sox’ bats came alive for the third time in four games in an 8-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Sox are now 5-0-1 in their last six series. They’re 11-5 during that stretch, which they believe is reminiscent of their run last summer that brought them back into contention after a poor start.
‘‘It makes it easier when it’s warmer out,’’ said Paul Konerko, who was 0-for-3 as the designated hitter but pushed in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. ‘‘It’s a combination of that and guys just knowing the team wouldn’t [slump] like that forever. [It’s] similar to last year when we got off to a slow start for six or seven weeks before we really came on.

And why that happens, I don’t know, but hopefully next year it won’t happen again. Hopefully that’s behind us now.’’
Also strikingly similar to last year is that interleague games are where the Sox are starting to turn things around. They were 15-3 against ­National League opponents in 2010 and have won their last 15 series against NL teams.
Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Hiroki Kuroda (5-4) to jump-start the Sox in the first inning and finished with four hits and five RBI to tie career highs in both categories. Leadoff hitter Juan Pierre was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, and A.J. Pierzynski also homered.
‘‘I definitely feel like the weather makes a difference,’’ Ramirez said through a translator. ‘‘It’s a lot easier to play. It feels like Cuba.’’
Adam Dunn, who has refused to get down on himself during his recent funk, showed signs of breaking out of it, going 1-for-2 with an RBI single and three walks.
‘‘I’m gonna fix it. It’s just a matter of how or when,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘It’s just one of those things. Sitting around pouting about it, moping about it isn’t going to change anything. . . . I want [the pitcher] to look at me and say, ‘He’s still dangerous. I don’t care what he’s hitting.’ If you’ve got that bad body language, like you’re pouting or something, what’s that solve?
‘‘[I’ve] been trying to almost get out of this stupid funk that I’m in by one swing, swinging as hard as I can — and that’s really not me. I don’t swing as hard as I can. I never have. I need to just relax and get back to the basics of seeing it and hitting it.’’
Manager Ozzie Guillen’s experiment with a six-man rotation continued to work, with starter Edwin Jackson (4-5) allowing only one run and five hits in 52/3 innings. Jackson also struck out seven and walked two.
‘‘It’s not bad — it’s definitely something new,’’ Jackson said of the extra man in the rotation. ‘‘It’s baseball. It’s a game of adjustments. . . . Regardless if it’s six days or seven days off, you have to be ready and mentally prepared to go in when it’s your day.’’
Jackson is 2-2 with a 2.07 ERA in his last three starts and has 28 strikeouts in his last six starts.
No. 8 hitter Jerry Sands had a career-high four hits for the Dodgers. Andre Either left the game with a bruised right elbow and bruised lower back after smashing into the fence trying to catch a drive by Juan Pierre in the fourth inning, and catcher Rod Barajas left the game with a sprained right wrist after Pierre slid into him on Konerko’s sacrifice fly. X-rays on both players were negative. Both were listed as day-to-day.

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