With first-place Detroit in the early stages of snapping a five-game losing streak Monday night at Boston, the White Sox provided their own form of satisfaction.
An eight-run fourth inning provided plenty of comfort, and Jon Garland coasted through seven innings to help steer the Sox to a 12-2 victory over Kansas City.
The Sox remained 51/2 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central. But more pleasing to a sellout crowd of 39,398 at U.S. Cellular Field was the manner in which the Sox applied pressure after coming off a three-game weekend sweep of Detroit.
"We know what's at stake and know we have to keep playing well to get where we want to be," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "There's no time for letdowns."
The eight-run fourth represented their largest output since they scored 11 runs in the third inning of a 20-6 humbling of Tony La Russa's St. Louis Cardinals on June 20.
Garland became the fourth consecutive Sox pitcher to work at least six innings. More important, late-inning relievers Mike MacDougal, Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks earned a rest after pitching on consecutive days.
The Sox's five-game winning streak is their longest since they won nine straight in late June and trailed Detroit by a half-game.
The Sox extended their lead in the AL wild-card race to three games over Boston and Minnesota.
Brian Anderson paced a 16-hit attack with the third three-hit game of his career. Pierzynski snapped out of a 4-for-28 slump with two hits that contributed to rallies in the fourth and seventh.
"The intensity was there, and I was excited about that," manager Ozzie Guillen said.
The only negative aspect of the victory occurred in the fourth when right fielder Jermaine Dye was hit on the left calf by a Mark Redman pitch and was replaced as a precautionary measure by Ross Gload.
Dye extended his season-high hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the second. The Sox didn't miss a beat as Gload, batting for the first time since Aug. 2, doubled and singled in his first two at-bats.
Every Sox starting position player except Pablo Ozuna had at least one hit. But the fourth provided a variety of entertainment.
Pierzynski poked a two-run single down the left-field line, then scored from first on Joe Crede's double.
The Royals tried to stop the damage by bringing their infield in, but Anderson foiled the strategy with a 130-foot bloop single over second baseman Mark Grudzielanek to score Crede from third.
Tadahito Iguchi kept the inning alive with a two-out single, and Jim Thome capped it by cranking his 36th homer, an opposite-field shot to left.
Thome has 32 lifetime homers against Kansas City, moving him into a tie for third with Ken Griffey Jr. on the active all-time opponents list against the Royals.
Anderson's three hits, including a solo homer off Joel Peralta in the sixth, raised his batting average to .225, his best since hitting .267 April 8.
"The way he's swinging, we're going to leave him alone," Guillen said.
Crede is 10-for-27 with three doubles and seven RBIs in the first eight games of this 11-game homestand.
Garland (13-4) won for the ninth time in his last 10 decisions and didn't allow a run until the seventh, when he issued his only walk, to Emil Brown, to start the inning.
Garland is 9-1 with a 3.55 ERA over his last 11 starts. Sox starters have posted a 3.45 ERA with 42 strikeouts and five quality starts in the last seven games.
The Sox have now won 12 of their last 17 games.
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