SEATTLE -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura thought playing at Safeco Field might help his team's struggling offense because batters would be more inclined to try to hit line drives at the pitcher-friendly park.
The White Sox made their skipper appear prescient Friday night, as they jumped out to an early lead on the strength of line-drive hit after line-drive hit. But still, there was one player who refused to fall in line with just line-drive hits, although the White Sox will take what Adam Dunn gave them any night.
Behind two home runs and five RBIs, Dunn powered the White Sox to a 7-3 win over the Mariners.
"He's staying positive and working, and I see that happening more often," Ventura said. "He is going to have a few strikeouts, but he's able to put that on the side and still come out and have quality at-bats.
"I think everybody wants to do well, so I think that's part of the fight that he has, as far as just wanting to do well."
Before Dunn could get to the Mariners with the long ball, he helped the White Sox jump all over Seattle starter Hector Noesi by slapping an RBI double to the left-field corner in the first inning, scoring Alejandro De Aza from second. The White Sox tacked on another first-inning run on a sacrifice fly by Alex Rios that scored Brent Morel and gave them a 2-0 lead.
By the time Dunn stepped to the plate in the second, Morel had already extended the advantage to 3-0 with an RBI single. Dunn made sure to add more cushion to the lead, though, raking a towering home run that easily cleared the right-center-field fence. The three-run shot extended the Chicago lead to 6-0 and chased Noesi after just 1 1/3 innings.
Operating with the lead from the moment he stepped on the mound, White Sox starter Chris Sale got into early trouble. But the lefty was able to escape jams in both the first and second innings unscathed.
The Mariners put runners on the corners with no outs in the first, but Sale was able to get Ichiro Suzuki swinging at strike three and Justin Smoak to ground into an inning-ending double play. In the second, Seattle had runners on second and third with two outs, but Sale struck out Brendan Ryan to escape unharmed.
"He's got a lot of good stuff," Ventura said of Sale. "He has quality pitches, but he's just one of those guys you watch pitch and he's not necessarily pinpoint with everything, but he has the velocity and change of speeds that make him difficult."
"He's got good offspeed stuff," said Mariners outfielder Casper Wells, who had one of his two doubles off Sale. "His stuff is moving all over the place."
The Mariners were finally able to get to the southpaw in the third, when Dustin Ackley walked and scored on a double by Ichiro. Then in the sixth, Jesus Montero cut the White Sox lead to 6-2 with a solo home run to dead center.
Sale was unable to get out of the seventh inning, though, leaving after 6 1/3 innings of seven-hit ball, 11 strikeouts and with a man on second. Matt Thornton came on in relief and gave up an RBI single to Ichiro to allow the Mariners to creep within 6-3, but was able record the last two outs without any more harm. Jesse Crain and Hector Santiago pitched scoreless innings to close out the game.
Dunn added his second home run in the eighth, a solo shot that gave him five RBIs on the night. It's the first time Dunn's recorded five RBIs since Sept. 24, 2010, while he was with the Washington Nationals. It's also the first time he's had three straight games with an RBI since May 18-20 of 2011.
It's run support Sale is more than happy to receive, and the first-year starter was quick to pass credit to the offense.
"They say pitching wins ballgames," he said, "but, today, that wasn't the case the way they were swinging the bats today, the way they brought it."