Dunn gets it done and wins over Sox' crowd
Reborn on the Fourth of July?
Maybe we can revisit the thought on Labor Day, but South Side pariah Adam Dunn finally got his welcome home from a big holiday crowd of 31,077 Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Yes, the White Sox beat the Royals 5-4 on a walk-off balk of all things, but Dunn set the stage for the win with a towering 2-run homer in the eighth inning that barely cleared the right-field fence before coming down in the Kansas City bullpen. It gave the Sox a short-lived 4-3 lead.
The slumping designated hitter answered a curtain call from the same crowd that has been viciously booing him for three months.
Just so you know, Sox fans, Dunn understands the anger and really appreciates the opposite emotion.
“I promise you, it's a way better feeling that way than the other way,” Dunn said. “I appreciate them, especially tonight, sticking with it.
“The thing about the fans, they boo and stuff because they want to see the team and person do so well. That's how I've been looking at it. It makes it more special when they cheer like that.”
The turning point for Dunn and White Sox fans actually came in the fourth inning.
Leading off with a single against Royals starter Jeff Francis — only his second hit against a left-handed pitcher in 55 at-bats this season — the crowd mockingly gave Dunn a standing ovation.
How did he react? Not at all in anger. He took off his batting helmet while standing on first base and saluted the crowd.
Many players might not have survived the three months of torment he has endured, but Dunn still is alive and swinging.
“I don't know … I just try not to think about it when I leave here,” Dunn said. “I totally eliminate it and pick it up around 1 o'clock tomorrow and do it all over again. Tonight will be the same way as if I went 0-for-5. Enjoy it, and when I leave here it will be over with.”
As for the home run off Aaron Crow, Kansas City's all-star reliever, it looked like right fielder Jeff Francoeur was going to have enough room to make the catch. But the moon shot kept carrying and Dunn had his eighth home run of the season and first since June 12.
“I hadn't hit one in so long I almost forgot,” Dunn said when asked if he thought it was out. “Seriously. I know it hit it on the barrel and hit it straight up. But I'm just glad there was little wind that blew it out.”
In the postgame clubhouse, Dunn's teammates where equally glad.
“If you know people are behind you and you've got that backup, the sky is the limit,” Gordon Beckham said. “Adam's an incredible player, and everybody knows it. It's just a matter of time before it comes out, and tonight it started coming out.
“It was a lot of fun for us as teammates because we know what he goes through. He really has not had a bad attitude all year. He's just gone through it and just taken it.
“But I've got a feeling he's going to get hot and he's going to carry us in the second half, I hope.”