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Home run parade continues for White Sox
Mark Buehrle got picked on at home Monday night for one of the few times this season.
But his offensive brothers provided timely protection as the White Sox took a one-game lead in the American League Central.
Sparked by home runs from Nick Swisher, Orlando Cabrera, Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin, the Sox quickly overcame a three-run first-inning deficit to rout Seattle 13-5 before a sellout crowd at U.S. Cellular Field. Minnesota's 3-2 loss to Oakland put the Sox alone atop the division.
"Once we get in our own ballpark, we feel comfortable," Jermaine Dye said after the Sox increased their major-league-leading home run total to 182 and scored 10 or more runs for the 14th time.
The latest outburst helped Buehrle (11-10) win his third straight start despite allowing five runs in 52/3 innings. He had a 2.72 ERA in 12 previous home starts.
Quentin, batting to scattered chants of "M-V-P, M-V-P," singled during the Sox's six-run fifth and added a solo homer in the eighth to extend his major-league-leading total to 35.
Quentin has reached base safely in each of his last 13 games and has been hit by pitches 20 times this season. He proved just as tough before the game when asked by a probing columnist whether his guarded answers will mesh with the increased scrutiny he will receive in the final six weeks of the season.
"I'm prepared for anything right now," Quentin said while looking directly at the questioner. "This is what I do. This is baseball. You prepare yourself for what you are going to experience. I don't know how to say this and I want to say this in the right way. There are a lot of things in life more important than attention.
"So, when I say I'm prepared for whatever happens in this game, I say that having experienced lows in this game like every player and you experience good things.
"I'm not going to be frightened by anything, if that's what you are saying. I'm going to be fine, how's that?"
Only twice has Quentin gone hitless in three consecutive games, and manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't mind Quentin's stoic personality.
"He's a different human being," Guillen said. "You ask him one question and it takes him like two minutes to respond, and he gives you the right [answer]. I think I should look in the mirror and be like him and don't say whatever's coming on my mind first."
Guillen also endorsed Ramirez as rookie of the year.
"He's in the pennant race, and he's played a lot of games," Guillen said. "Unfortunately, the guy he's competing with (Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria) is hurt. But I think he should have a shot."
The only momentum-stopper was Dye's arm that blocked Toby Hall from applying the traditional shaving cream pie during a postgame television interview.
Hall, with his right shoulder iced, said he was fine.