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updated: 4/25/2013 11:51 PM

Sox show 'will to win' against Rays

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  • Adam Dunn celebrates with teammates after hitting a 2-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning of the White Sox' 5-2 victory Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

      Adam Dunn celebrates with teammates after hitting a 2-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning of the White Sox' 5-2 victory Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

It's been relatively quiet since manager Ozzie Guillen's messy exit from the White Sox near the end of the 2011 season.

Give credit -- or blame -- to veteran TV broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson for keeping some semblance of edge on the South Side.

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Harrelson made headlines last season for verbally assaulting home-plate umpire Mark Wegner during a Sox game at Tampa Bay in late May, and The Wall Street Journal later analyzed all major-league broadcast crews and declared Hawk the biggest homer.

This year, Harrelson has gone public with his longtime disdain for sabermetrics, and he engaged in a lively debate with Brian Kenny, a big numbers guy, Thursday on the MLB Network.

Instead of tearing down the merits of acronyms like WAR and BABIP, Harrelson hit Kenny with his own term: TWTW.

"TWTW, the will to win," Harrelson said. "You can't put numbers on those things."

Shortly after making the pronouncement, TWTW was displayed on the outfield video screen at U.S. Cellular Field, and T-shirts with the slogan are reportedly on the way to a White Sox gift shop near you.

Who knows, maybe Harrelson anti-sabermetric term will become a rallying point for the White Sox.

It sure seemed to work on Thursday, when Chris Sale overcame some early wildness and the Sox' bats warmed up a bit in a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay.

The White Sox (9-12) still have work to do after getting off to a sluggish start, but they are seeing some positive signs after a second straight win.

"As far as the way everything is going, the last couple nights you're playing the way you want to play," manager Robin Ventura said.

Sale (2-2) continued to be nearly impossible to beat at the Cell, but the ace left-hander was shaky early. Sale gave up 1 run on a hit and a walk in the first inning and walked two more in the second before pitching out of trouble.

"Maybe just as the game goes on, you throw a few more pitches and find your arm slot," Sale said after allowing 2 runs on 4 hits in 7 innings. "That's definitely something I want to nip in the bud. I think I've given up a run in the first inning the last few outings. That's something I definitely want to tighten up, and obviously walking guys and giving free bases up can hurt you.

"I got away with it today thanks to some timely hitting and great defense."

The Sox jumped on Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson for 3 runs in the first inning to quickly erase the early deficit.

And after Tampa Bay pulled within 3-2 in the fourth inning, Adam Dunn put the game out of reach with a 2-run homer (No. 4) off Hellickson in the sixth.

"Late in the game, you give Chris a 3-run lead, we kind of like our chances," Dunn said. "It was good timing. We were able to keep it moving early and whenever you give your ace a lead early, you have a pretty good chance to win."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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