CHICAGO – The chilly, windy Chicago weather in April doesn’t create ideal hitting conditions.
The bat feels heavier, the ball doesn’t carry as well, and it never is fun gripping a wood bat with cold hands.
The White Sox haven’t let the conditions faze them. They hit four baseballs for home runs a combined 1,520 feet Wednesday in their 5-2 win against the Kansas City Royals.
All six of their runs this season have come off homers. Designated hitter Adam Dunn started the scoring in the second inning on his first hit of the season, a line drive home run on the first pitch from Kansas City starting pitcher Ervin Santana (0-1). Catcher Tyler Flowers homered the next inning.
Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez added a two-run homer and solo homer in the fourth and seventh innings. Royals left fielder Alex Gordon nearly robbed Viciedo of his go-ahead homer by climbing the wall’s ledge, but the ball bounced off his glove into the Sox’s bullpen as he reached over the fence.
“Everybody talks about our home runs and this and that, but we’ve got guys one through nine who can hit the ball out of the park,” Dunn said. “I guess it doesn’t really matter how you score runs, only that you score them.”
The Sox (2-0) finished third in the majors with 211 home runs last season.
The Sox have shown an ability to stay patient in appropriate counts while swinging aggressively, as Dunn, Flowers and Viciedo did against Santana, when they see their pitch.
It bodes well that they tallied eight hits in their two wins against the Royals (0-2). Next up: Improving with runners in scoring position (0 for 10 with 11 runners left on base).
“Sometimes it’s almost better hitting a double or something to get the rally going,” Flowers said. “Sometimes that home run only sets you up for that one run. Hitting’s contagious, so sometimes the double, single, double and then a homer, that’s a little bit better. But obviously we’ll take every run that we can get.”
Flowers forced the issue in the seventh when he was tagged out at home trying to score on a wild pitch, but manager Robin Ventura is confident that over the coming weeks the Sox will find ways to get on base and score without pinning their hopes on the long ball.
“I think it will even out,” Ventura said. “I know Tyler tried to sneak a run there late but right now, you take it whatever you can get. But I think that will even out over the year.”
• Meghan Montemurro covers the White Sox and Cubs for Shaw Media. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Sox Insider and Inside the Cubs blogs at NWHerald.com and on Twitter @Sox_Insider and @InsideTheCubs.