It doesn’t appear the Chicago White Sox are going to get any help holding off red-hot Cleveland in the AL Central.
Doing it themselves may be their only option.
The White Sox will try to win back-to-back games for the first time in more than two weeks when they continue their series with the visiting Minnesota Twins.
Jose Contreras gave the struggling White Sox what they needed most Friday— a strongly pitched game and a victory.
The Cuban right-hander tossed a six-hitter for his first career complete game, and Jermaine Dye hit a three-run homer in the first inning to lead Chicago to a 3-1 win.
“I’ve been around this game for so long and been in stretch runs like this and playoff runs. This game comes at you day in and day out,” Dye said. “Last night I couldn’t get it done, but tonight I’m a hero.”
With just their fifth win in 15 games, the White Sox maintained their 1 1/2 -game lead in the Central over surging Cleveland, which beat Kansas City 7-6 for its ninth win in 10 games and 16th in its last 18.
Chicago has been in first place every day of the season and led by 15 games on Aug. 1.
“People talk about the big lead. I never said we were going to win this thing by 20 games,” manager Ozzie Guillen said before Friday’s win.
“If you talked to me in April, as a matter of fact if you told me in the winter meeting or when we left camp this team would have 90 wins and be fighting in the pennant race, I will take that,” Guillen added. “Obviously our lead has shrunk real quick. Obviously we are not playing real good and the team behind us is playing extremely well.”
“If we make the playoffs and if the time is good for him and if he is the best guy to throw the ball, he will be the first pitcher,” Guillen said. “If not, we will see what happens.”
After two more games with the Twins, the White Sox will visit Detroit for four before a final three-game showdown with the Indians at Jacobs Field from Sept. 30-Oct. 2.
Friday’s loss was the fifth in seven games for the Twins, who need to win four of their final nine games to avoid their first losing season since going 69-93 in 2000.
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