Without the heart of their offense in the lineup due to injury, and red-hot but still green Dayan Viciedo subbing as the clean-up hitter, the White Sox would need to find some other sources of power, or string their hits together to be successful Saturday night.
Instead, they did both. Viciedo and Pierzynski went yard back-to-back in the 4th, Dunn notched his second homer off of a lefty in the 8th, and inept Cubs defense added a few insurance runs later in that same frame.
The night began with a match-up between the Cubs' best starter (Dempster) all year long and the Sox shakiest (Danks). So naturally, Danks was perfect through 4.1 IP, and was staked to a 4-0 lead by the time he had a baserunner.
Injuries to Morel and Konerko gave the Sox a short bench to work with, but they never needed it in a game that would've completely lacked close moments if not for Zach Stewart's terrible 9th inning.
White Sox 7, Cubs 4
John Danks - 6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 83 pitches - Still not in top top form, but not a lot of solid contact off of him and he could have gone longer.
Adam Dunn - 1 for 1, HR, 4 BB, 2 R - Given how long his HR went, they probably should have stuck to walking him
Dayan Viciedo - 2 for 5, HR, 3 RBI - Picked up where Konerko left off for the second-straight day. Looks to be in the 2010 hyper-aggressive mode, which is perfectly acceptable for right now
A.J. Pierzynski - 2 for 5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 K - The unusual power surge hasn't entirely worn away. He's now 2/3 of the way to last year's HR total
Alejandro De Aza - 2 for 4, R, RBI, BB - The impressive 10-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout isn't even reflected in this very good stat line.
After leaving some runs on the bases in the 1st, the Konerko-less 3-4-5 combo bloodied Dempster thoroughly in the 3rd. Dunn walked, Viciedo hit a flyball that might have been considered a Wrigley cheapie if it didn't travel out to near dead-center, and Pierzynski hit a no-doubter to the opposite field for a back-to-back.
4-0 Sox, and for all practical purposes; game over.
Things Would Be Different If...
...Adam wasn't a new man. Dunn reached base all five times, and had Dempster pitching out of the stretch to the heart of the order all night.
Of course, you could say this entire season would be different without him.
The victory gives the White Sox their first series win since sweeping Seattle, and brings them one victory away from .500.
I won't patronize you, or try to deny it; beating the Cubs is extra special, and a win on Sunday can give the Sox their first 3-game sweep of the North-siders since 2008. That the Sox can see guys like Danks and Viciedo find their groove in the process only sweetens the pot.
Team Record 20-21, 3.5 GB