Instead of asking themselves what took so long to get back to .500 at 24-24, the White Sox are looking forward to getting back into serious contention in the American League Central over the final four-plus months of the season.
All things considered, the Sox (24-24) are in pretty good shape, and Sunday's 5-3 win over the Marlins at U.S. Cellular Field was their ninth in 12 games.
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"Things are starting to click and everybody is coming through," closer Addison Reed said after pitching a perfect ninth inning against Miami and picking up his 17th save, second in the AL behind the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (18).
"Earlier on in the year, either our offense was producing and the pitching wasn't do so well or vise versa. Now everything is clicking and we are playing the ball we know how to play."
Winning three straight against a Triple-A caliber Miami Marlins team might not seem like much, but the White Sox did what they had to do.
"It's huge," Adam Dunn said after the Sox completed their first three-game sweep of the year. "You have to beat the teams that on paper you're supposed to beat. That team played hard. I don't think that they're anything like their record indicates."
The White Sox are taking the same view as they prepare to play four straight against the Cubs, another undermanned National League team.
"We take aim at whoever we're playing that night," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You can't start looking at standings and figuring it out. We know kind of where we're at, but again you can't look at everybody else and play your game while you're looking at the scoreboard.
"We just need to take care of ourselves, play our game and you go from there."
Adam Dunn has been bothered by back spasms for the past week, and the White Sox' designated hitter/first baseman entered Sunday's game mired in an 0-for-17 slump.
Dunn hit a 2-run homer off Miami starter Alex Sanabia to put the Sox in front in the first inning, and he also lined out hard to right field in the sixth.
"It's actually better," Dunn said afterward. "It feels a little better than it has. Hopefully it will be really good tomorrow and we'll get rolling."
White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod beat the Marlins on Sunday to even his record at 3-3, but the right-hander allowed 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 51⁄3 innings while throwing a season-low 77 pitches.
Axelrod would have been in really rough shape had left fielder Dayan Viciedo and right fielder Alex Rios not thrown out Miami runners at the plate.
"I didn't have my good stuff," Axelrod said. "I was erratic in those middle innings. But you know, we pulled it out so I can't be mad about it. Our outfielders have some good arms, and that's the difference in the game right there."
Flowers out again:
Catcher Tyler Flowers sat out his third straight game with back spasms, but manager Robin Ventura said he should be back behind the plate Monday night against the Cubs.
"Flowers is getting better," Ventura said. "Flowers should be better by tomorrow. He can play if we needed him today, but we're just holding him out as a precaution. If something happened to Hector (Gimenez), he'd be in there."