The Chicago White Sox's season has been filled with its share of disappointment, sparking discussions they may be looking to revamp the roster.
If Adam Dunn is a player being shopped, he's sure increasing his value.
He'll look to stay hot and help Chicago make it five straight road wins against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.
The White Sox (34-48) are in last place in the AL Central and had lost five straight before taking two of three from Baltimore, including Thursday's 3-2 win. Dunn hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth for the victory, finishing 3 for 4 and also adding an RBI single in the sixth.
Dunn raised his average to .207 and is above the .200 mark for the first time since April 7. He's hitting .333 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs over his last 23 contests."Like I said from Day One, I've felt pretty good all year. Just wasn't getting any results," Dunn said. "Now it seems like I'm swinging at a little better pitches and putting some good wood on it."
Dunn had gone 0 for 21 with 13 strikeouts in his previous six against the Rays before hitting .357 with two homers as the teams split a four-game series in Chicago from April 25-28.
He hit a two-run shot off Jeremy Hellickson in the series opener, and he'll be on the hill again Friday looking to win his fourth straight start.
Hellickson (7-3, 4.90 ERA) has posted a 1.42 ERA over his last three after giving up a solo homer and striking out six in six innings of Sunday's 3-1 win over Detroit.
The right-hander won five of his six June starts, tying the franchise record for victories in a month after going 2-2 with a 5.61 ERA through April and May.
"I really can't put a finger on it. I was just giving up a really big inning every time out," Hellickson said. "Right now I'm just making a big pitch when I need to. Getting a lot of help out there."
Hellickson struck out eight but allowed three runs in the first inning and five through six frames of a 5-2 loss to the White Sox on April 25. He'll look to pitch Tampa Bay to its sixth win in seven games after a 7-5 win over Houston in 11 innings Thursday.
James Loney 's single extended his hitting streak to a career high-tying 15 games during which he's hitting .400.
Tampa Bay scored 28 runs in the four-game set with the Astros and may have another chance for a big night against struggling White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod , who has posted a 7.40 ERA over his last four outings.
Axelrod (3-4, 4.57) threw 111 pitches in six innings and allowed three runs - including two homers - in a 4-3 loss to Cleveland on Saturday, but was pleased with his outing.
"I feel like, all in all, it was a step in the right direction for me, and I pitched pretty well," Axelrod said.
The right-hander pitched well in the series finale versus the Rays in April, giving up three runs and four hits in six innings before the White Sox fell 8-3.
The Rays have batted .173 with eight total runs during a four-game home skid against Chicago.
|Alejandro De Aza||6||.333||2||0||0||0||2||.333||1.000||.667|
|Chicago White Sox|
|July 03, 2013||Paul Konerko||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|July 02, 2013||Jesse Crain||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder tightness|
|June 30, 2013||Jesse Crain||15-Day DL||Sprained right shoulder|
|June 15, 2013||Alejandro De Aza||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 05, 2013||Jake Peavy||15-Day DL||Fractured rib - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 04, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Left game - Rib pain|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|June 28, 2013||Evan Longoria||Day-to-Day||Plantar fasciitis, left foot|
|June 16, 2013||Alex Cobb||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 05, 2013||Kelly Johnson||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 08, 2013||Brandon Gomes||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Jeremy Hellickson and the Tampa Bay offense had another productive night.
Hellickson won his fourth consecutive start, Jose Molina had a two-run homer during a five-run second inning, and the Rays beat the Chicago White Sox 8-3 on Friday night.
"I felt the same when things were going bad," Hellickson said. "It's just a matter of keeping the ball down, getting ahead and making a big pitch when I need to."
Hellickson (8-3) gave up one run, six hits and struck out nine in seven innings, helping the Rays win for the sixth time in seven games.
"That's pretty good stuff right there," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Hellickson.
Hellickson was coming off a strong June when he went 5-1.
Molina hit his two-run drive and the following batter, Kelly Johnson , connected for a solo shot three pitches later off Dylan Axelrod (3-5) to start the second-inning surge that saw the Rays go up 5-0.
Later in the inning, Evan Longoria had an RBI single before Wil Myers ended Axelrod's night with a run-scoring double.
"As a team we're doing a really good job of getting better at-bats and that's huge to make sure that the team keeps hitting the way we're doing right now," Molina said.
It was Molina's second homer this season and first since April 18. Tampa Bay has scored 36 runs over the past five games.
Axelrod, who has given up 10 homers in 22 1-3 innings over his past five starts, allowed five runs and nine hits in 1 2-3 innings.
"They just jumped on Ax," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Everything was elevated, it seemed like. When he's good, he's got people swinging and missing and balls kind of falling in the dirt. Everything just seemed to be up today."
The 1 2-3 innings was Axelrod's shortest career start.
"I threw some balls up and they're hot right now, so I'll just try to turn the page and think about my net start," Axelrod said.
Myers' sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single by Luke Scott made it 7-0 in the fourth.
Josh Phegley got his first major league hit, an RBI single in the fifth for the White Sox, who have lost seven of nine. Phegley, who started at catcher, and center fielder Blake Tekotte , recalled from Triple-A Charlotte before the game, were both in the starting lineup.
Gordon Beckham had an RBI single and Phegley added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Longoria started at third base for the first time since leaving a game on June 28 after irritating plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He returned Tuesday for the first of three consecutive days as the designated hitter.
"He was fine," Maddon said. "Not hurting at all."
Tampa Bay's James Loney singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games. He drove in a run by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the fifth.
Axelrod reached for Desmond Jennings ' low first-inning liner, which knocked his glove to the ground. The pitcher picked up the ball and threw out the speedy Rays' leadoff man at first.
NOTES: White Sox RHP Jake Peavy , on the DL since June 6 due to a broken rib, threw off a bullpen mound. "Hopefully in the next week or so he'll be able to get a side (session) and be ready to go," Ventura said. Peavy will likely go out on a rehab assignment before rejoining the team. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb had a bullpen session for the first time since being hit in the right ear by a line drive on June 15. There is no timetable for his return. ... The White Sox designated C Hector Gimenez for assignment. ... SS Alexi Ramirez, who played every inning for the White Sox this season entering the game, was one of several Chicago players pulled after the top of the seventh.