Danks solid as White Sox beat Cubs 7-4
By RICK GANO
CHICAGO (AP) Adam Dunn loves to hit against the Chicago Cubs. He had great success against them during his days in the NL. And he really enjoys Wrigley Field.
Good thing for the Chicago White Sox.
Dunn had one of the White Sox's three homers Saturday night and also walked four times to back strong pitching from John Danks in a 7-4 victory over the Cubs.
Dunn's solo shot in a three-run eighth inning was his 13th of the season and 42nd of his career against the Cubs - only Albert Pujols (53) has more among active players against the team from the North Side of Chicago.
"I have had it since Day 1. I see the ball pretty well here. The environment makes it pretty fun to play at," Dunn said of Wrigley Field, where he has now homered 26 times.
Dunn was selective at the plate as the White Sox - playing without star Paul Konerko - beat the Cubs for a second straight game. Dayan Viciedo and A.J. Pierzynski also homered, back-to-back off Ryan Dempster in the third.
"I feel good, I'm not chasing too many pitches like I had all year," Dunn said. "That's something I'm continuing to work on."
Konerko, who'd been hit near the left eye with a pitch Friday and had to leave the game, had a shiner Saturday, but tests revealed no major damage and he hopes to play again Tuesday.
Viciedo wasn't supposed to start any of the three games at Wrigley Field as manager Robin Ventura planned to play Dunn in left field without the DH in a NL park. But when Konerko had to leave Friday's game in the third inning, Dunn moved to first and Viciedo took over in his familiar left field spot while batting in Konerko's cleanup slot.
"He's a pretty confident kid," Dunn said. "He never gets down on himself. He knows what he is capable of doing. "
Danks (3-4) got his first win since April 22, allowing three hits in 6 1-3 innings. It was his third career start at Wrigley Field, where he has allowed just two earned runs in 19 1-3 innings and is 2-0.
"This is an exciting game. The energy in the ballpark. This is a game I enjoy throwing in, for sure," said Danks, who was staked to a 4-0 lead after three innings and retired the first 13 batters he faced.
"We will take all the runs we can get early," Danks said. "That's always a key. That allows us to relax and stay aggressive."
Viciedo connected on his seventh homer in the third inning to give the White Sox a 3-0 lead, right after Dunn drew a two-out walk. The two-run shot just went over leaping center fielder Reed Johnson's glove and was Viciedo's fourth homer in his last six games.
Two pitches later, Pierzynski hit a liner to left center that cleared the ivy-covered wall, his sixth of the year.
"I wish we could duplicate this for every game of the season," Pierzynski said. "It's a special series and it's a special place. Once you get on the field, it's a good atmosphere."
Dempster, who hasn't won in a span of 16 starts dating to last Aug. 11, gave up seven hits and four runs with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings as the Cubs dropped to a season-worst 10 games under .500 with their fifth straight loss. This one came before 40,228 fans.
"Just didn't pitch well enough to win," Dempster said. "A loss is a loss. I don't really care who is watching. I don't like losing anytime. If there was one person in the stands or there was 40,000 people, to me it means the same thing and that's a loss. I don't take any one loss different than the others."
Danks was spotless before Alfonso Soriano doubled with one out in the fifth. Danks also walked Joe Mather before Koyie Hill lined out to end the inning. Pinch-hitter Tony Campana and Johnson singled to open the sixth, but the rally died when Starlin Castro hit into a double play.
"Four innings of perfect ball, so we're making it pretty easy on some pitchers who have been coming in struggling," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We're making them look pretty good. Pitch counts and all that, we're just making quick outs and not really getting good pitches to drive."
The White Sox opened the scoring when Alejandro De Aza singled to start the game, stole second and after a walk to Dunn scored on Viciedo's RBI single.
Alexei Ramirez had an RBI single in the eighth to make it 6-0 and the White Sox subsequently loaded the bases. Reliever Blake Parker then went to a 3-0 count on De Aza before he had to leave with a tight right hamstring and Michael Bowden threw ball four, forcing in the seventh run.
Notes: The White Sox have won 17 of the last 23 against the Cubs. ... Viciedo now has 10 RBIs in his last six games. ... C Koyie Hill, who had been playing Double-A in the Reds' organization hoping for another shot at the majors, got just that when the Cubs reacquired him and then put him in the lineup Saturday night. Starting catcher Geovany Soto went on the DL after knee surgery and backup Wellington Castillo has a sprained knee ligament. ... The White Sox go for the sweep Sunday sending out Jake Peavy (4-1) to face Paul Maholm (4-2).
Updated May 19, 2012