Garcia, Thome help Sox throttle L.A. again

With Freddy Garcia on the mound and Jim Thome at the plate, the White Sox hardly looked like a team depressed over the loss of five-game winner Jose Contreras to a pinched nerve.

Garcia continued his renaissance with eight innings of one-run ball and Thome hit his 14th home run of the season to highlight a six-run third inning.

And with Jermaine Dye hitting a homer in his first game back after missing five, the Sox had more than enough resources Tuesday night to coast to a 9-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

The Sox won their third straight game and their ninth of the last 11.

More convincing is the way they have dominated the defending American League West champions. They have beaten them eight straight times dating to Game 2 of the AL Championship Series.

But these Angels hardly resemble last year's edition. They have scored only 40 runs in their last 15 games and have scored more than three runs only once since losing 8-5 to the Sox on April 28 in Anaheim.

Garcia beat the Angels that day and has taken big strides since allowing seven runs against Cleveland in his first start.

He hasn't allowed a walk in his last two starts since beating the Angels in Anaheim, and he quietly has moved into a tie for the team lead with five victories, joining Contreras, who is on the disabled list until at least May 20 because of a pinched nerve in his lower back.

"Everyone knows what I've done in this game," Garcia said. "I've been here for a while and I don't pay attention to what has happened."

Garcia's winning streak is his longest since he won six straight decisions from May 20-Aug. 15, 2005.

Manager Ozzie Guillen believes Garcia has fallen into a normal routine after participating in the World Baseball Classic in March.

"The last three outings he has been attacking hitters from the beginning," Guillen said.

After allowing a double to Vladimir Guerrero with two outs in the third, Garcia (5-1) retired the final 16 batters he faced.

Garcia also took advantage of a wounded Angels offense. Before the game, the Angels placed first baseman Casey Kotchman on the disabled list (6 for his last 50 at-bats) and promoted Dallas McPherson from Triple-A Salt Lake.

McPherson, who lost his hold on the Angels' third base job in spring training, was batting .235 with 49 strikeouts in 102 at-bats for Salt Lake at the time of his promotion.

McPherson also started at first base for the first time in 88 major-league games. The Angels also are without center fielder Darin Erstad, who is on the DL because of a right ankle injury.

Thome highlighted his first three-hit game of the season with his homer well over the bullpen in right field to snap a 1-1 tie. The Sox added three more runs in the inning, including Dye's solo shot.

"It's contagious," Thome said.

Dye said he didn't take batting practice while he he was out recovering from a left-calf strain.

Juan Uribe also had three hits to help lead a 13-hit attack. Uribe raised his batting average from .165 to .189.

The Sox continued their power surge when Joe Crede hit a homer in the seventh off left-hander J.C. Romero. Crede is batting .429 over his last nine games.

Leadoff batter Scott Podsednik reached base on all five of his plate appearances and scored three times. Podsednik also reached over the left field fence to rob Tim Salmon of a homer in the seventh.