The Chicago White Sox are back in first place and gaining momentum in the American League Central race.
The White Sox look to extend their winning streak to five games as they continue their four-game series against the Texas Rangers.
After jockeying for position with Kansas City and Minnesota in the AL Central all season, the White Sox have won four straight to move into sole possession of first place in the division. They are a half-game ahead of the Twins, while the Royals have lost four in a row to fall a game behind in third place.
“It’s always a great place to be, in first place,” third baseman Joe Crede said. “You never want to be the team that’s going out and trying to chase the team in first place, you want to be the team that everybody’s chasing.”
Frank Thomas has picked up his hitting to lead the White Sox during their winning streak. Thomas is batting .375 (6-for-16) with three home runs and seven RBIs over the last four games.
“It’s still a very close race. We’ve still got a long way to go,” Thomas said after he homered in a 7-3 win over the Rangers on Thursday. “The best way to look at it is we’re still fighting for first place.”
The White Sox had not led the division since Aug. 8, and had been in first place for just three days previously this season.
Palmeiro reached 30 homers for the ninth straight year and has 520 overall. Rodriguez has homered in five straight games, tying the club record set by Carl Everett from April 14-20.
“For the first time in (a while) I feel healthy, and the results are there now,” said Rodriguez, who missed part of spring training with a neck injury.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 16 1/2 GB, AL West. White Sox - 1st place, AL Central.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Juan Dominguez (0-1, 8.31 ERA). The 23-year-old rookie right-hander will be making his third career start. After losing his debut, Dominguez yielded four runs and four hits in four innings as Texas beat Chicago 6-4 on Sunday.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Neal Cotts (0-0, 6.75 ERA). Cotts will be matched up against Dominguez for the second time this week. The rookie southpaw allowed four runs in 5 2-3 innings of Chicago’s loss. Cotts is also making his third major league start.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Hank Blalock, .314 avg.; Rodriguez, 37 HRs, 94 RBIs, 100 runs and 16 SBs. White Sox - Magglio Ordonez, .318 avg. and 79 runs; Thomas, 31 HRs; Carlos Lee, 88 RBIs and 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 3-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - SS Rodriguez leads the AL with 37 home runs. … DH Palmeiro is one home run shy of tying Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 13th place on the all-time home run list with 521. … 1B Mark Teixeira is hitting .224 in August. White Sox - OF Everett is hitting .387 with four home runs in August. … 3B Crede is batting .438 (10-for-23) with two homers and seven RBIs in six games against Texas this season. … 1B Thomas is tied for fourth in the AL with 31 HRs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 25-38 on the road; White Sox - 41-22 at home.
INJURIES: Rangers - OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (rib cage, oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 60-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL. White Sox - RHP Billy Koch (elbow), 15-day DL.