Viciedo's blast continues White Sox power surge
First home run gives South Siders only lead; Dunn, Rios also homer
CHICAGO -- Live by the home run ... win by the home run.
Such was the White Sox mantra during Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Mariners in 10 innings at U.S. Cellular Field, completing their first homestand of the 2013 season at 4-2. All four of their Sunday runs came on home runs, including Dayan Viciedo's first career walk-off shot, a prodigious 406-foot clout to left, coming against Kameron Loe (1-1) with one out.
This long-ball theory has played out consistently over the first six games, with 15 of the team's 22 runs scored on homers. While the White Sox want to feature a more diversified offensive attack, nobody is complaining about success.
"Sometimes you're going to score runs with homers," said White Sox right fielder Alex Rios, who homered in every game of the Mariners series, marking the first time in his career he has homered in three straight. "We're here to score runs any way you can."
"Everybody's going to take a little bit," said an ecstatic Viciedo, speaking through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "Some start slower than others, but everybody will do their part at the right time."
Chris Sale worked seven innings in his second start, giving up three runs on five hits, while striking out seven and walking two. The bar has been set so high for the All-Star and Opening Day starter that Sunday's effort wasn't considered one of the southpaw's frontline performances.
"It wasn't his best day as far as command and even stuff," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers of Sale, whose ERA sits at 1.84 after two starts. "But that's how good he is, where he can shut down a pretty good offense like that and keep us in the game and give us a chance."
"He's got good stuff," said Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak of Sale. "We felt like we had chances, we just weren't able to capitalize enough."
All the damage by the Mariners (3-4) also was inflicted via the long ball.
With two outs in the first inning, Michael Morse launched his fifth home run down the left-field line. That drive scored Jason Bay, who had drawn a one-out walk.
Kendrys Morales added a solo blast with one out in the sixth. But the White Sox answered each long drive against Sale with their own power punch.
In the bottom of the first, Adam Dunn drove out a 427-foot, two-out shot to right-center off Hisashi Iwakuma to score Alexei Ramirez, who had doubled with one out. It was Dunn's second homer and the 408th of his career, moving him past Duke Snider for sole possession of 48th place all-time.
And it was Rios who tied the game in the seventh with a leadoff homer to left. Prior to that connection, Iwakuma had retired 16 straight after Dunn cleared the fence in the first.
"It's scary to pitch here because anything that goes up, you think there's a chance," said Iwakuma, through translator Anthony Suzuki. "All we can do is keep the ball down and make them hit it on the ground. That's all I had in mind."
"You tip your hat to him," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Iwakuma, who gave up four hits and threw only 89 pitches over eight innings. "He was moving it around and he has a little bit of a funky delivery. He was painting both sides and wasn't giving you a lot of opportunities. We didn't have that many chances after the first inning."
Although it was Viciedo who delivered the game-winner, Sale thought this victory was emblematic of the all-for-one White Sox approach under Ventura. When Gordon Beckham made a rare throwing error in the eighth, Matt Lindstrom fanned Morse and Jesus Montero to strand runners at first and second.
Closer Addison Reed (1-0), who has a hand in all four victories, struck out Morse to strand two more in the 10th, and when Smoak opened the seventh with a single to left, Viciedo nailed the slow-footed runner trying to stretch it into a double.
"That's the beautiful thing about this team," Sale said. "Not only do we work hard for ourselves but we work hard for each other. We are here to do our job but also pick each other up. That happened throughout the entire game, people picking each other up. It's what you like to see. We pulled it out today."
The ultimate pickup came from Viciedo, who connected on a 2-0 sinker to set off the celebration.
"You pipe it down the middle 2-0 to any of these big league hitters and they're probably going to put a good swing on it," Loe said. "It was a bad pitch."
"I'm very happy with what happened," Viciedo said. "It was my turn to do something to help the team."
Some people don't like the club's reliance on homers. As the White So embark on a 10-game road trip two games over .500, they are grateful for every one of their 11.
"Exciting and fun to watch," said Sale of the victory, before pausing to analyze Viciedo's game-winner. "That ball was crushed."