CHICAGO -- Jake Petricka has been a bright spot in a White Sox bullpen that has struggled in September. While the relief corps had posted a 4.85 ERA for the month going into Monday's series opener against the Twins, Petricka hadn't allowed a run in nine innings over six appearances.
Overall, Petricka had posted a 1.32 ERA (two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings) since being called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Aug. 17 and making his big league debut on Aug. 22.
The right-hander said the key for him has been continuing to do what got him to the Majors.
"I'm just doing the same thing I did down in the Minors," Petricka said. "I'm just attacking hitters, throwing as many strikes as I can, and trying to keep them off balance with a mix."
Petricka added that while there is a learning curve in coming to the big leagues from Triple-A, the important thing is to not waver from a successful approach.
"There definitely was a learning curve," he said. "They definitely hit mistakes a lot harder [in the big leagues]. It's just a matter of limiting those mistakes. You've just got to keep your same approach and if you make your pitch, you can get hitters out. You can't let them dictate what you do."
Petricka said that while it's been a rough season on the South Side, he's excited to have the opportunity to end the 2013 campaign in the Majors.
"I'm still excited for this season because I'm still learning a lot," he said. "I'll look forward to next season when the offseason starts again."
Dunn: 'Character test' to finish tough season
CHICAGO -- Adam Dunn said that when a team has a season as difficult as the White Sox have had in 2013, the last month of the campaign is a test of character.
"Now is more of a character test," Dunn said. "It's been a long, tough season. It would be really easy to go out there and hit a ground ball and not run it out and things like that, but now is the time where you might put 112 percent into it as opposed to 110.
"Anybody can do that stuff when you're winning, but when you're having years like this, I think that shows a lot about your character."
Dunn also said that if a team isn't able to make the postseason, what happened throughout the year is irrelevant.
"It's another wasted season," he said. "I couldn't care less what happens if you don't make the playoffs, and we're in the same boat as we were last year and the year before and the year before and the year before. So that's how I feel.
"I wouldn't be playing if I didn't [want to win a championship]. That's what my goal is, and I think that's what everyone's should be. It doesn't matter what you do, if you don't put yourself in the position to win a ring, then you've got to look forward and go get them next year."
Manager Robin Ventura said he understands how Dunn feels, having been a player himself.
"Where he's coming from as a player, at the end of the year, when you go home, that's what you feel like," Ventura said. "So I totally understand what he's trying to say."
Semien proud of Double-A Birmingham's championship
CHICAGO -- The White Sox Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham Barons, won the Southern League championship with a 4-2 victory over the Mobile BayBears (D-backs) on Sunday.
The Southern League title is Birmingham's first since 2002, and several current members of the White Sox contributed to the club's success this season, including infielder Marcus Semien, catcher Miguel Gonzalez, and pitchers Erik Johnson, Jake Petricka, and Daniel Webb.
Semien -- who was named the 2013 Southern League Most Valuable Player earlier this month after hitting .290 with 15 home runs, 49 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 105 games for the Barons -- said he followed the team's progress throughout the playoffs and is happy for his former teammates.
"I'm real proud of those guys, and I'm great friends with pretty much everyone on that team," Semien said. "It was great to see that they won. I was keeping track pretty much every night, and it's awesome to have been a part of that."
Semien added that it came as no surprise to him that the Barons won the title despite some struggles in the second half of the season.
"They had a tough second half, but they figured things out in the playoffs, and I know they had good pitching the whole time," he said. "But they put it together in the end and won the championship."
Third to first
• Reliever Ramon Troncoso, who was put on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 17 with Pericarditis -- inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart -- made his first appearance since being activated in Sunday's 7-1 loss to the Indians.
The right-hander pitched the eighth and ninth innings of the contest, yielding a homer to Nick Swisher in the ninth and walking a batter.
"It's nice to have him back," Ventura said. "That stuff is scary when there is something going on that you can't really see. Usually it's a shoulder [or something], where you can physically see something wrong with somebody. But when you start dealing with hearts and things like that, it's nice that he's able to come back and at least get back on the mound before the end of the year and prove to us and everybody else he's healthy."
• Outfielder Avisail Garcia, who was scratched from the starting lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Indians, was with his wife on Monday as she gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter named Annarella.
• Chris Sale struck out seven in Sunday's 7-1 loss to Cleveland. The left-hander has 214 strikeouts, which is third in the American League and one shy of the all-time franchise record for strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher.
With two more punchouts, Sale would surpass Gary Peters, who had 215 strikeouts in 1967.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.