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CWS@CLE: Dunn ropes an RBI double down the line

CLEVELAND -- Some people might look at a strong finish from Adam Dunn over the final two weeks of the 2011 regular season as a harbinger of good things to come offensively in 2012.

Dunn's view of the situation differs slightly. This handful of at-bats simply marks the merciful end to a disastrous season soon to be forgotten.

"This year is over," said Dunn after knocking out two doubles during the White Sox 4-3 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of a split doubleheader on Tuesday at Progressive Field. "When this year is over, it's over -- good, bad, anything -- it's over.

"I want to go up and have good at-bats. My year is what it is, and it's not ... Like I said, I'll talk about this up until our last game, and then I'll never talk about it again."

Dunn hasn't exactly produced the red-hot streak that the White Sox and fans of the organization have been waiting for since mid-April. But with five hits in his last 13 at-bats, including three doubles, the designated hitter is, at the very least, exiting this season on a high note.

Dunn's second-inning double off Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona (7-15) drove in the White Sox first run and gave him back-to-back games with an RBI for the first time since June 9-10. His two extra-base hits gave him back-to-back multihit games for the first time this season and raised his mark to 7-for-14 with seven RBIs against Carmona in 2011.

"It baffles me. He's got such good stuff," said Dunn of his success against Carmona. "It wouldn't surprise me if he comes back next year and has an unbelievable year."

"He's swinging the bat pretty good lately," said manager Ozzie Guillen of Dunn. "He's just making good contact. I think he hits what they give him. He's not trying to hit home runs. Hopefully, he will continue to swing the bat like that. Hopefully, he will finish up -- I don't want to say good, but finish up at least in a positive way."

Dunn's first double was one of four straight second-inning hits for the White Sox (74-79). The rally culminated with Alejandro De Aza's run-scoring single, which sent Dunn to third with nobody out.

Brent Morel also hit hard a 3-1 offering from Carmona, but it was caught by right fielder Kosuke Fukudome. De Aza, breaking on the pitch, was easily doubled off first, and Dunn wasn't able to tag up from third to score. Gordon Beckham grounded out to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to end the frame.

Carmona gave up three runs on seven hits over six innings, but the White Sox had at least two baserunners on in four of those.

"Fausto did a nice job of battling the whole time," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "He had some traffic on the bases and was helped a couple of times by double plays, but you've got to give him credit. He didn't crumble in any of those situations."

"We didn't have the big one," said Guillen, whose team finished 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. "But we played good. They just beat us."

Gavin Floyd (12-12) was victimized by the long ball in this particular setback, despite striking out seven and not issuing a walk over 6 2/3 innings. Travis Hafner launched a two-run shot in the first, with Cabrera and Fukudome adding solo blasts in the fourth and fifth, respectively. That was all the run support Cleveland would need behind Carmona and three relievers. Chris Perez finished it with his 35th save.

Floyd, who has one start remaining, is looking to finish over .500 for the second time in the past four seasons. Though the right-hander will end up with the highest ERA during his four years as a White Sox starter, he considers the 2011 effort a success.

"Obviously, it wasn't exactly statistically everything I wanted it to be. But I felt like I matured this year," Floyd said. "I feel like I matured as a pitcher -- repeating; being able to throw strikes on a consistent basis; mental focus, especially in tough situations; just moving on from bad starts and continuing to push and trying to win. I feel like I learned a lot. And obviously, finishing healthy was one of my goals. I worked hard in the offseason and tried to be here for the team all season."

Cleveland (76-76) took another step forward in securing second place in the American League Central, increasing its lead to 2 1/2 games over the White Sox. Guillen's basic attitude has always been that if you don't finish first, then you're pretty much the first or second loser.

"When you are not in first place, everything else is overrated," Guillen said on Tuesday.

Regardless of where they end up in the standings, Guillen would like his players to use second place as motivation for a strong finish. Dunn's motivation is to get through this season and quickly put it behind him.

"That's the way I'm doing it. I don't know what Dr. Phil or anyone would say about it, but that's the way I'm going to go about it," said Dunn of forgetting about the season. "It's been obviously a hard season -- not for me, but my family and everyone that's associated with me.

"So I think everyone wants to put it behind them, too. So that's what we're going to do. It would be nice for us to kind of roll and finish strong and end on as positive a note as you can." Comments