White Sox 7, Rangers 3

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CHICAGO (AP)—Back in first place, the Chicago White Sox are holding off on any celebrations.

“It’s still a very close race. We’ve still got a long way to go,” Frank Thomas said after he homered in a 7-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night. “The best way to look at it is we’re still fighting for first place.”

Joe Crede also homered to back Bartolo Colon as Chicago won its fourth straight and moved one game ahead of Kansas City in the AL Central.

The White Sox, a half-game ahead of Minnesota, had not led the division since Aug. 8 and had been in first place for just three days previously this season.

“It’s always a great place to be, in first place,” 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.”

Colon (11-11) won for the first time in three starts, giving up three runs and six hits in seven innings. He took a one-hitter into the sixth before Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro hit consecutive homers.

Palmeiro reached 30 homers for the ninth straight year and has 520 overall. Rodriguez, who leads the AL with 37, 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.

Kelly Wunsch pitched a scoreless eighth, and Tom Gordon entered with two on and one out in the ninth, finishing for his eighth save in 13 chances.

Crede tied a career high with three hits, including a triple, and drove in three runs.

Colby Lewis (6-8) gave up five runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. Texas had won eight straight, its longest winning streak since June 19-25 last year.

“We’re still on a roll,” Rodriguez said. “Teams shouldn’t take us lightly.”

During the game, the White Sox acquired reliever Scott Sullivan and cash from the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named.

Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first on an Magglio Ordonez’s RBI single and Jose Valentin’s bases-loaded walk.

Thomas led off the third with his 31st homer, tying Duke Snider for 35th place with the 407th of his career. Carlos Lee’s RBI single made it 4-0 in the fourth.

Crede, who had missed the previous three games because of a sore toe, homered leading off the sixth for a 5-2 lead.

Jason Jones had an RBI single in the seventh, but Crede hit a two-run triple in the bottom half following an error by Hank Blalock on Everett’s grounder tothird.

Notes

The Rangers probably felt at home with the game-time temperature 94 degrees and the humidity stifling. … The four-game series is Texas’ only appearance this year at Chicago, where Blalock hit a go-ahead homer in theAll-Star game last month.

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