White Sox 5, Royals 4

Adam Dunn showed signs of coming out of a season-long slump.

The struggling slugger hit a clutch two-run homer in the eighth

inning before a crazy finish gave the Chicago White Sox a 5-4 win

over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.

”I hadn’t hit one in so long I almost forgot,” Dunn said.

”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.”

A.J. Pierzynski scored the winning run on a balk called on Aaron

Crow in the ninth after the Royals had tied it on a homer first

ruled a triple in the top of the inning.

With the Royals trailing 4-3 in the ninth, Eric Hosmer led off

with what appeared to be a homer off White Sox closer Sergio Santos

(3-3). Second base umpire Alfonso Marquez signaled the ball was in

play as Hosmer advanced to third. Royals manager Ned Yost contested

the call, and the umpire reviewed it. Moments after the review,

Marquez signaled a homer.

Ramon Castro also hit a solo shot in the fifth for the White

Sox, who have won five of its last six games.

Pierzynski led off the ninth with a pinch-hit single off Crow

(2-2) in the ninth, then advanced to second on Gordon Beckham’s

sacrifice bunt. Pierzynski moved to third on a wild pitch, and

after striking out Mark Teahen, Crow walked pinch-hitter Juan

Pierre.

With Dunn up and facing a 1-0 count, Pierzynski noticed Crow’s

front shoulder move after he saw it, Pierzynski alerted the umpires

and that prompted the players in the White Sox’s dugout to jump up

and plate Ed Rapuano then called a balk, giving Chicago the

win.

”He just came up a little bit,” Pierzynski said. ”It wasn’t

much, but I’ve seen it called a lot of times. I just saw his front

shoulder (move), and then he realized and stepped off and didn’t

think anyone saw it. No one reacted. It took a second for everyone

to finally realize what he had done. It was a good way to win. Good

comeback. I’m happy for Adam. It’s got to feel great for him, and

Mark pitched well. It’s a big win.”

Yost argued the call with Rapuano before heading back to the

dugout.

”He was adamant that it was a balk,” Yost said. ”I’ve looked

at the replay four or five times and I’m having a hard time seeing

it. Eddie said that he turned his shoulder before he stepped

off.”

Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur didn’t appreciate Rapuano

taking the game out of the players’ hands.

”I love Ed Rapuano and he’s one of my favorite (umpires), but

you better be damn well sure if someone balks when you call a game

on that,” said Francoeur, who homered. ”It’s a shame because

you’ve got an All-Star reliever up there, you’ve got Adam Dunn in

the box, the crowd was going crazy. It’s a great atmosphere, and

you’re going to call a balk to end the game. I just don’t see it.

I’ve always respected Ed, he’s always done a great job, but to make

that call in that situation, to me, that’s not right. …

”I understand if he drops the ball or blatantly moves, but he’s

calling him for flinching when he’s stepping back off the mound.

What the hell are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to step

off? It’s a disappointing call.”

After the game, the umpires declined an interview request.

With Kansas City holding a 3-2 lead, Crow allowed a leadoff

single to Brent Morel in the eighth and Dunn followed with his

eighth homer of the season on a 1-1 pitch to right field to put the

White Sox ahead 4-3.

Dunn, who came in hitting .165, received a loud ovation from the

31,077 fans in attendance – prompting a curtain call. It was his

first home run since June 12 against Oakland. He also passed Joe

DiMaggio on the career list, putting him at 77 with 362 career

homers.

Earlier in the game, Dunn singled to right in the fourth inning,

prompting a Bronx cheer from the fans. Dunn, acknowledged the crowd

by tipping his helmet to the fans. But Dunn says he understands

where the fans are coming from.

”I promise you it’s a way better feeling that way than the

other way,” he 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 personally do so well. That’s

how I’ve been looking at it. It makes it more special when they

cheer like that.”

Santos couldn’t hold the lead after allowing the homer to Hosmer

in the ninth. It was Santos’ third blown save of the season.

Mark Buehrle allowed three runs on seven hits over seven innings

for the White Sox, who began a stretch of 19 consecutive games

against AL Central division rivals. Last season, the Chicago

finished 32-40 against AL Central opponents and are 7-11 against

the division this season.

Jeff Francis allowed two runs over on seven hits over six

innings. He struck out four without allowing a walk for the Royals,

who have lost six of seven.

Notes: Royals LF Alex Gordon, who left Sunday’s after getting

hit by a pitch in the left knee, was available to pinch hit and was

expected back in the lineup Wednesday.