Home runs have helped the Chicago White Sox remain atop the AL Central standings most of the season.
Coming off another huge power display, the White Sox look for their fourth straight victory while trying to find some rare success on the road against the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
Chicago (68-52) hit four straight homers during a six-run sixth inning to highlight a 9-2 victory over Kansas City on Thursday and conclude a home sweep of the Royals. After Jim Thome’s three-run shot with two outs, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe followed with solo homers, marking the sixth time a team has hit four consecutive in the same inning.
“It was great. We kind of exploded,” said Thome, who hit his 25th of the season and No. 532 for his career. “It was kind of cool to sit back there and watch all that happen.”
Konerko went 3-for-5 and Jermaine Dye had two hits with two RBIs for the White Sox, who lead the majors with 172 homers. Though hitting .226 on the season, Konerko is batting .385 (10-for-26) with two home runs and five RBIs in his last eight games.
Chicago, which owns a one-game lead over Minnesota in the Central, is coming off a 7-3 homestand, but begins a brief three-game trip in Oakland (55-65) before returning to U.S. Cellular Field for a six-game homestand.
Though the A’s lost 7-6 in 12 innings to Tampa Bay on Thursday for their 23rd loss in 27 games, Chicago has lost three in a row at Oakland, and is 6-24 there since the start of the 2002 season.
“Hopefully, we can turn that around and keep playing baseball the way we have for the past few days,” Nick Swisher told the White Sox official Web site.
Swisher, who has 17 homers in his first season with the White Sox, makes his first trip to Oakland after spending the first four seasons of his career there. He is 4-for-19 with a home run in six games versus the A’s this season.
Gavin Floyd (12-6, 3.84 ERA) tries for a third straight win for Chicago despite allowing five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-5 victory over Boston on Sunday.
The right-hander gave up three hits in 7 1-3 scoreless innings of a 6-1 win in his only previous start versus Oakland on July 5.
“I believe in what I can do,” Floyd said. “You can’t really change your attitude because of that.”
The A’s counter with Dallas Braden (3-2, 4.62), who’ll make his fifth straight start after spending most of the season in the bullpen. Braden, 2-2 as a starter, allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings of a 4-2 win at Detroit on Friday.
The left-hander is making his first start against Chicago.
On Thursday, Bobby Crosby had three hits while Carlos Gonzalez had two with two RBIs for Oakland, which scored more than four runs for the first time in 16 contests. Crosby went 6-for-12 with a homer in the Rays’ series.
Oakland rookie reliever Brad Ziegler looks to start a new run after having his 39 consecutive-inning scoreless streak end Thursday.
“Unbelievable what he’s done, but I’ll get him right back out and try to start another one. He’s been tremendous,” said Oakland manager Bob Geren of Ziegler, who allowed the first run of his career in the ninth inning Thursday.