With a lineup stripped down from collision-related injuries, and Philip Humber on the mound because of John Danks' everlasting rehab, the White Sox needed primetime efforts from the heart of the order Saturday.
They got that, but the fill-ins weren't half-bad either.
After a breezy, scoreless first three innings, Paul Konerko broke the tie with a massive shot to left field that scored Dunn--who had just walked. Dunn matched his fellow 1B/DH with a two-run shot of his own the next inning, but the Sox added an extra tally in between that.
How? With Eduardo Escobar knocking in Jordan Danks with an RBI double, of course? His attempt to stretch it into a triple cost the Sox a run, but RBI extra-base hits from Eduardo Escobar are hardly the gift horse to look in the mouth of.
Five runs was an ample cushion for Philip Humber, who found the feel on his slider-curve combination enough to avoid another day of punishment of his fastball. He cruised through six innings with only a Mike Napoli solo shot counting against him, but quickly ran out of gas the next inning.
After saving his pitcher with a leaping catch at the wall in the 6th, fill-in centerfielder Jordan Danks misplayed a Michael Young liner into a leadoff triple in the 7th, and Jesse Crain was called in after Humber walked Napoli.
Two labor-intensive strikeouts later, Crain induced a weak flare to left from Ian Kinsler that Dayan Viciedo made a diving scoop on to end out the last real threat of the night. Matt Thornton allowed a tally in int he 9th.
White Sox 5, Rangers 2
Philip Humber - 6 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K, HR, 100 pitches - Part of being inconsistent is having the occasional solid outings where you resemble a reliable starter
Eduardo Escobar - 2 for 5, 2 2B, RBI, K - Escobar is on the team because he basically re-creates Alexei Ramirez's defense, he's generally not expected to fill in at the leadoff spot and hit two doubles. And now, he's apparently traded.
Adam Dunn - 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, K - Since he's on pace for a career-high in home runs at the end of July, it might be time to stop worrying about him
Paul Konerko - 1 for 4, HR, 2 RB, 2 K - Didn't look too great outside of the home run, but great googly moogly what a shot!
Ultimately, the Sox had the lead to stay after Konerko's home run in the 4th inning, but put the Rangers in the dirt for good in the next inning when Danks, Escobar, Youkilis, and Dunn all reached base consecutively. Dunn, of course, reached based with the long ball.
Things Would Be Different If...
As Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson commented as he entered the game, Jesse Crain works in bizarre ways. He came in with runners on the corners and no outs, and proceeded to run up massive pitch counts in at-bats to Leonys Martin, Craig Gentry, and Ian Kinsler--21 pitches in all. He ended up with two strikeouts and a weak flare to left, but easily could have walked all three.
Five-straight wins--both in total games and against the Texas Rangers--have the White Sox up two and a half games in the AL Central, which would be good enough. But it tastes even sweeter knowing that circumstances prevented them from putting their best foot forward, and they still knocked off the Rangers in a tough environment. If the previous night was the most draining win of the year, this was the most surprisingly relaxing.
Team Record: 55-45, 2.5 games up