CHICAGO — Patience is finally paying off for Adam Dunn.
The White Sox designated hitter is making up for a difficult start to the season as he clubbed fifth home run in seven games to lead Chicago to a 6-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.
“It was hard to keep saying over and over how good I felt with no results,” said Dunn, who has 13 RBIs and six runs scored in those seven games. He now has 11 home runs for the season. “Hopefully these results keep coming.”
Dunn had one of the night’s biggest hits — a 3-run first inning home run that drove home Alex Rios and Paul Konerko as the White Sox jumped on previously-unbeaten Red Sox starter Jon Lester.
“When he’s right he can do a lot of damage,” said Chicago manager Robin Ventura. “His pitch selection is good. I don’t know mechanically what it is, but when a guy knows he’s in the right position to hit, he’s more confident.”
The White Sox, who never trailed, added two more runs in the second as they halted a two-game losing streak.
Lester (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season as the Red Sox’ five-game winning streak was snapped.
“I really felt like I threw the ball OK for the most part — with the exception of the pitch to Dunn,” he said. “After that I felt like we made some adjustments and in the second innings I threw the ball a lot better … it was just one of those nights where you had to battle.”
White Sox right-hander Dylan Axelrod (2-3) worked six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits for his second straight victory. He struck out two and walked one.
“That was big — three runs early and tack on two more in the second; it’s nice to see the offense come alive early,” Axelrod said. “It makes it a lot easier to go out there and challenge guys and throw a lot of strikes.”
Matt Thornton entered in relief in the seventh and quickly got into a jam. He walked David Ortiz and Daniel Nava and gave up a one-out double to Will Middlebrooks that scored two runs and trimmed Chicago’s lead to 6-4.
But Thornton escaped further damage, striking out Stephen Drew before Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew out to deep left.
Jesse Crain worked a scoreless eighth, and Addison Reed allowed just one baserunner in the ninth on the way to his 15th save.
Lester, the first Red Sox lefty since Bill Lee (1978) to open a season 6-0, pitched six innings and gave up five earned runs. He walked three and struck out a pair.
“It was a night where he had to battle,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Lester. “He gets two quick outs in the first inning and then after a base hit and the walk it was a 2-0 cutter that stayed in the middle of the plate to Dunn, who’s been hitting the ball well of late.
“All of the runs tonight were after two outs and maybe that third strike in a couple of cases was a little elusive for him.”
Dunn went 1-for-3 with three RBIs, while Dayan Viciedo was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.
Saltalamacchia paced the Red Sox, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Rios kicked off the first-inning outburst with a two-out single and a steal of second. Konerko walked to set up Dunn, who sent Lester’s 2-0 pitch into the right- field stands.
Chicago struck again with two outs in the second inning. Tyler Greene doubled to center. Alejandro De Aza singled down the third-base line to score Greene, and advanced to second on the throw. De Aza came home on an Alexei Ramirez double to the right-field corner for a 5-0 Chicago lead.
Boston got two runs back in the third when Saltalamacchia slammed his fifth home run of the season with one out. Drew was aboard after a walk.
Viciedo’s RBI single in the sixth boosted Chicago’s lead to 6-2.
NOTES: White Sox INF Gordon Beckham (fractured bone in left hand) continued his rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, where he went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs on Sunday. He’s been on the disabled list since April 10. … Dunn’s fifth-inning walk tied Billy Hamilton for 62nd on the all-time list (1,187). … Monday’s game was the first between the Red Sox and White Sox this season. They’ll play two more in Chicago this week and meet again in Boston between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1. The Red Sox went 6-2 against the White Sox last year. … Boston RHP Andrew Bailey came off the 15-day disabled list after missing three weeks due to a right biceps strain. RHP Jose De La Torre was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. … Boston pitcher Roger Moret went 7-0 in 1973, the only Red Sox pitcher to reach that mark. … Tuesday’s game features a pair of left handed starters, Boston’s Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.03 ERA) and Chicago’s Jose Quintana (2-1, 3.97 ERA).
Yankees 6, Orioles 4
At Baltimore, Travis Hafner tied the game in the ninth inning with a solo home run and Vernon Wells delivered a go-ahead, ground-rule RBI double in the 10th as New York sent Baltimore to its seventh straight home loss.
The Orioles handed a 4-3 lead in the ninth to beleaguered closer Jim Johnson, who retired Robinson Cano to begin the frame. But the reliever fell behind 3-1 to Hafner and the 12-year veteran put a charge into Johnson’s fastball, sending it into the stands in left-center for the Yankees’ fourth solo home run of the game.
David Robertson (3-0) worked around a two-out single by Adam Jones to send the game into extra innings and Wells put New York in front for good with his double off Pedro Strop (0-2). Hafner added an insurance run with a RBI single while Mariano Rivera worked a flawless 10th for his 17th save in as many chances.
The Yankees took an early lead when Cano belted his 13th home run in the first and David Adams tallied his first major-league homer one inning later. Chris Davis tied Cano for the American League lead in home runs in the bottom half of the second before the Orioles drew even on Nick Markakis’ RBI single in the fifth.
Lyle Overbay put the Yankees back in front in the fifth with a solo blast off reliever Troy Patton, but the Orioles got RBI doubles from Markakis and J.J. Hardy to end CC Sabathia’s night after 6 1/3 innings. After a scoreless eighth from Darren O’Day, Johnson blew his third straight save on Hafner’s solo shot.
Blue Jays 7, Rays 5
At Toronto, Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched a season-best eight innings to win his second start in a row as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday afternoon.
The game turned when Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run double with two outs in the seventh inning to snap a 3-3 tie before a crowd of 29,885 at Rogers Centre.
Dickey (4-5) allowed four hits, four walks and three runs (two earned) while striking out five with 120 pitches, but he said he is not where he wants to be with his release point.
Casey Janssen pitched the ninth in his first outing since May 11 and allowed a walk and three hits, including a two-out, two-run home run by former Blue Jay Yunel Escobar.
Right-handed reliever Josh Lueke (0-1) walked the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh, and Encarnacion cleared them with a double to left field to put Toronto up 6-3.
The Blue Jays added a run against Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth on a two-out walk to Henry Blanco and a triple by Munenori Kawasaki.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi, 23, who was 4-0 with a 3.83 earned-run average in eight starts at Class AAA Durham, did not factor in the decision in his first start of the season for Tampa Bay (23-21). He allowed five hits, one walk and three runs while striking out six in five innings.