The message was simple and executed instantly Friday night.
The White Sox quickly distanced themselves from a mercurial first half when they scored six runs in the first inning en route to a 9-5 victory over the Royals.
The tone was set during a pregame meeting in which manager Ozzie Guillen told his players to forget about the first half because they hadn't achieved anything.
After an early workout that saw the Sox work on fielding drills, they performed a hitting clinic as the first eight batters reached base safely.
"I think our guys are excited to be back," hitting coach Greg Walker said. "You could see it in their eyes. They were ready to get going."
The first four batters reached on the first four pitches from Royals starter Zach Greinke, who had limited the Sox to one run over seven innings on July 10.
"In the back of your mind, you don't know how they're going to hit, how they're going to throw, how they're going to play defense because four days off is a lot of days," Guillen said. "But they reacted the right way."
This was the start the Sox had sought after losing three of four games at the end of the first half. A 2-10 start in the second half of 2006 led to a third-place finish in the AL Central and helped knock them out of wild card contention.
The Sox's 4-8 start after the All-Star break in 2007 caused general manager Ken Williams to tweak the roster with the trades of Tadahito Iguchi and Rob Mackowiak. He also entertained offers for Jermaine Dye.
Instead, Dye signed a two-year extension the following month, and he continued to reward the Sox with a 3-for-4 performance. Dye hit a two-run single in the first and his leadoff single in the sixth started a two-run rally.
The six runs equaled the most the Sox have scored in the first inning since Aug. 26, 2004, in Cleveland and gave starter Mark Buehrle (7-8) plenty of cushion. It also helped him avenge a loss to the Royals in his last start in which he didn't allow an earned run over 71/3 innings.
Buehrle allowed only four hits in seven innings as the Sox maintained their 11/2-game lead over the Twins.
With the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline less than two weeks away, Guillen acknowledged he has spoken with Williams regarding potential trades but he seems content as long as his current roster plays up to its potential.
"We don't expect to do anything, but you never know," Guillen said. "We will find out what we really need to get this team better. If we don't do anything, people will start criticizing our organization. [But] I believe we can do this with the people we have here.
"[If] everyone does their job, not more, this ballclub should be fine. There's too much talent out there. It's about the team. It's all about them."
Paul Konerko, who ended the first half in a 6-for-25 rut, hit an RBI single in the first.
Backup infielder Juan Uribe missed the pregame workout and the start of the game to address a family matter but had notified Guillen in advance about the situation.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times