OAKLAND—The White Sox shattered all the windows at the place formerly known as their house of horrors.
Behind the clutch pitching of Jose Contreras and home runs by Jim Thome and Scott Podsednik, the Sox won for only the fifth time in 28 games at McAfee Coliseum with a 4-1 victory Monday night over the A's and formidable Rich Harden.
"There are a lot of reasons to enjoy this," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We faced [and beat] one of the best right-handers in the game, and Jose needed a game like this."
The Sox were fearful of Harden, who struck out seven in five innings against them in a March 20 exhibition game in Phoenix and entered Monday's game with a 3-1 record and 2.90 lifetime ERA against them.
But Thome tied the game 1-1 by launching his second homer of the season over the center-field fence in the fourth inning. It was his 474th career homer.
Podsednik came through the next inning by pulling a 2-2 pitch that barely cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in right to give the Sox a 2-1 lead.
"Hitting home runs in this park at night isn't easy," Guillen said. "And we made Harden throw a lot of pitches."
Contreras survived a 33-pitch second inning in which the A's took a 1-0 lead that started with a two-out walk to Nick Swisher and got worse on an RBI double by Travis Buck.
Contreras loaded the bases in the third on a walk to Eric Chavez, prompting pitching coach Don Cooper to visit the mound. Contreras heeded Cooper's advice and induced Swisher to fly to left on a 2-0 pitch to end the threat, the first of eight straight outs recorded by Contreras.
In the sixth, Chavez pulled a single to right and moved to second on Bobby Crosby's two-out walk. But after hanging a split-finger fastball that Buck yanked foul, Contreras struck out the former Arizona State star to end the threat.
Contreras' split-finger fastball was more effective than in the opener. He also threw with more authority from the three-quarter and overhand angles and got stronger toward the end of his 105-pitch effort.
"Keeping the fastball away from the middle of the plate was the biggest difference [from his nightmare start in the opener]," Contreras said.
Although the Sox managed only two runs against Harden, they ran his pitch count up to 102 after six innings. The Sox also reverted to "Ozzie" ball to manufacture two runs in the eighth off sidearm left-hander Jay Marshall.
Podsednik led off with his third hit of the game and moved to second on Darin Erstad's sacrifice. After an intentional walk to Paul Konerko, Thome ripped an RBI single that moved Konerko to third.
Konerko's aggressive baserunning paid off when Dye hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead.
The A's mounted a minor threat in the eighth when Milton Bradley beat out an infield hit to extend his hitting streak against the Sox to 22 games. But Mike MacDougal, in relief of Contreras, calmly induced Mike Piazza to ground into a double play.