Dunn, Konerko blast White Sox past Astros
Sluggers hit back-to-back homers; Sale fans six hitters
HOUSTON -- The White Sox continued their "extended" Spring Training with 5-1 victory Tuesday night against the Houston Astros.The South Siders play another exhibition game Wednesday afternoon at Houston, open the regular season with three games at Texas and three more at Cleveland before finally returning home to play Detroit April 13. "The jitters were there, the atmosphere, pitching in a big league stadium," starting pitcher Chris Sale said. The 6-foot-6 left-hander looked ready for the season. He allowed one run on three singles, all in the first inning, and pitched four innings, striking out six. "After the first inning, I settled in," Sale said. "I talked to [catcher A.J. Pierzynski] after the inning. He said, 'You're rushing things. Get the jitters out. Go out there and pitch a game.' After the first inning, everything was kind of clicking. I was pleased." The White Sox bullpen was nearly flawless. Nate Jones, Addison Reed, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Hector Santiago all threw scoreless innings. Jones, Reed and Crain did not allow a hit, Thornton and Santiago gave up two singles apiece. "I think our bullpen has a chance to be OK," Pierzynski said. "Obviously, we have some young guys out there, who are always interesting. We have some good arms. They've been throwing strikes all spring. As long as we do that, we should be OK." After six weeks in Arizona, Tuesday was a pleasant change for the White Sox, playing indoors. "Guys are a little more energetic once you get out of Spring Training, get in a big league park," manager Robin Ventura said. "This feels more natural." Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning, something they did not do all last season. It was Dunn's sixth homer of the spring and Konerko's first. Up next for White Sox: The White Sox and Astros return to Minute Maid Park on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. CT, live on Gameday Audio, to complete their two-game exhibition series. Philip Humber will start for Chicago opposite Houston's J.A. Happ.
Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.