White Sox top Indians in slugfest
Adam Dunn didn't care about his spring strikeout total or gigantic expectations attached to his huge contract.
Dunn was positive he would be ready by opening day.
He always has been — like Babe Ruth.
Dunn homered and had four RBIs in his debut for Chicago, and Carlos Quentin homered and drove in five as the go-for-broke White Sox built a huge lead and held off Cleveland's scrappy comeback, beating the Indians 15-10 in their season opener Friday.
Dunn's third-inning homer got the White Sox started and gave the slugger seven homers on opening day, tying him with Hall of Famers Ruth, Willie Mays and Eddie Mathews and one back of the major league record shared by Frank Robinson and his former Reds teammate Ken Griffey Jr.
''I don't care how I look in March,'' said Dunn, who struck out 27 times in 67 at-bats this spring in Arizona. ''I don't care how it is in February or January. I just wanted to be ready for today, and I feel like I'm ready for the season.''
The White Sox splurged during the offseason in an attempt to win the AL Central after finishing second to Minnesota in 2010, and the club's $125 million payroll looks like money well spent — so far. Chicago signed Dunn to a four-year, $56 million contract and re-signed popular captain Paul Konerko to a three-year, $37.5 million deal.
''This is just the first game. I assume we're going to do this all the time, right,'' Dunn joked.
Chicago built a 14-0 lead after four innings for starter Mark Buehrle (1-0) and roughed up Cleveland ace Fausto Carmona (0-1) for 10 runs and 11 hits in three innings.
Quentin and Dunn each hit two-run homers in the third, and the White Sox added eight runs in the fourth.
The support was more than enough for Buehrle, who blanked the Indians for five innings before giving up five straight singles and four runs in the sixth. Starting his ninth consecutive opener, the left-hander allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings.
''I told the guys in the first inning to get me five runs,'' Buehrle said. ''They got me two. They asked if that was enough and I said 'No, keep them coming. When we got to 14, I said, 'All right, that's probably good, save some for tomorrow.'
''You'd love to get that many runs, but you know it's not going to happen every time,'' he added.
Carlos Santana went 3 for 5 and hit a two-run homer for the Indians, who made it interesting by scoring four in the sixth, three in the seventh, two in the eighth and one in the ninth.
The comeback gave manager Manny Acta some comfort.
''I can't promise a win every day, but I can promise a team that is going to battle and fight for every out,'' Acta said. ''It was a weird game. All we could think of at first was there's not many opening day games that are 14-0 right off, but we battled back.
''Unfortunately, we had to play catch-up baseball,'' Acta said. ''We went down fighting.''
For four innings, the reloaded White Sox looked unbeatable.
They pounded Carmona, who was making first his start on opening day. When he was mercifully lifted by Acta in the fourth, Carmona was booed by a sellout crowd of 41,271 fans who are unsure what to expect this season from a team that lost 93 games last season.
The Indians started without center fielder Grady Sizemore, who may not be up for a few more weeks as he recovers from knee surgery.
The White Sox signed the 6-foot-6, 280-pound Dunn in December, hoping he would add more punch to an already powerful lineup.
After Gordon Beckham singled to open the third, Dunn, who hit 354 homers in 10 NL seasons, crushed a 3-2 pitch from Carmona deep into Chicago's bullpen to make it 4-0. The shot was pleasing to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who cracked Dunn's homer was overdue.
''It's about time, we were waiting for that for a month and a half already,'' Guillen said. ''I think it's good for him. He's coming from a new team and a lot of expectations. All the people in Chicago expect him to do well, and this takes the monkey off his back.
''When you start that way, you create confidence in yourself,'' he continued. ''I don't expect anything less.''
There was no arguing Carmona's ineffectiveness.
In the fourth, he gave up a two-run double to Dunn and was replaced. Justin Germano, who didn't allow a run during the exhibition season, was touched for a two-run double by Quentin, an RBI single by A.J. Pierzynski and two more two-run doubles by Alexi Ramirez and Brent Morel.
''Maybe I was overthrowing some pitches and I could not get them down,'' Carmona said. ''On some, I had no movement.''
Before the game, the Indians said an emotional goodbye to the great Bob Feller, the Hall of Famer who died on Dec. 15. This is the first time since 1936 that Feller isn't part of the Indians, who are honoring his legacy throughout the season.
In a touching moment, his widow, Anne, was escorted to the mound and gently placed a baseball on the rubber, a silent ceremonial first pitch and salute to the greatest Indian of them all.
On the ball, she wrote: ''Bobby, Keep Pitching, Anne.''
NOTES: Quentin's 5 RBIs were the most by a White Sox player since Sammy Sosa in 1991. ... The 15 runs were the most allowed by the Indians in an opener. ... Buehrle's nine straight opening-day starts is the AL's longest current streak. Hall of Famers Walter Johnson and Steve Carlton share the record with 14.