SAN DIEGO -- Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was impressed with the way his team bounced back after squandering a late lead in its previous game.
"This is the biggest game of the year because of the way we lost (Saturday) and how we came back today," Guillen said. "We could have come in and just saw what happened. But they showed what kind of character this team has."
Chicago won five of six on its road trip, and nine of 12 overall to improve to a major league-best 42-20.
The White Sox lost 2-1 on Saturday night when closer Dustin Hermanson had his first blown save of the season as San Diego scored two runs in the ninth inning.
Chicago was on the verge of losing only their fourth series out of 21 this season before rallying for two runs in the eighth to tie the game at 5.
"It's all about winning right now," White Sox starter Freddy Garcia said. "I was struggling all game, but the bullpen came up big, then Aaron got the big hit. Winning is all that matters."
Chicago also has the majors' best road record at 23-12.
"These guys never say die," said Rowand, who singled as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning and stayed in the game. "No one quits if we don't have the lead."
The White Sox started the winning rally off Hoffman (0-3) with one-out singles by Tadahito Iguchi and Scott Podsednik. Rowand then hit an 0-2 fastball to into the second deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building that borders the left-field foul line.
"I wasn't thinking about (hitting a home run)," Rowand said. "I'm just trying to get a hit and drive in a run. I was trying to sit back on his changeup and he just made a mistake that I took advantage of."
Hoffman came on with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning and struck out pinch-hitter Jermaine Dye.
"An 0-2 pitch needs to be off the plate," Hoffman said. "That definitely caught more of the plate than needed. Basically, it came down to bullpens and we came out on the lesser end of it, specifically myself."
Hoffman allowed at least one run -- including unearned runs -- in his fourth straight appearance, something that hasn't happened since his rookie season of 1993. The right-hander allowed runs in a career-high six consecutive appearances that season, two coming with Florida before the Marlins traded him to San Diego in June. Hoffman, third on the all-time saves list with 410, then allowed runs in his first four games for the Padres.
Cliff Politte (3-0) combined with Neal Cotts and Luis Vizcaino to hold the Padres scoreless in the last four innings. The three relievers allowed only one base runner, with Vizcaino hitting pinch-hitter Xavier Nady in the eighth inning.
The White Sox tied the game in the eighth off relievers Scott Linebrink and Akinori Otsuka. Carl Everett, who had three hits, led off with a double and scored on Paul Konerko's bloop single to right. A.J. Pierzynski doubled into the right-field corner, chasing Linebrink. Otsuka then struck out Joe Crede before intentionally walking Timo Perez to load the bases.
Juan Uribe drew a walk to force in Konerko with the tying run. Otsuka escaped out of the inning when he got Iguchi to ground into a force at home plate and Podsednik to fly out.
"If you told me that it would be a tie game late, I'll take our bullpen over any in baseball," Phil Nevin said. "It just didn't work out today."
San Diego has lost six of eight games and eight of 11.
Khalil Greene, who had three hits, gave San Diego a 4-3 lead in the sixth when he doubled over the head of Podsednik in center field to score Sean Burroughs. Greene moved to third on ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Damian Jackson.
Nevin hit a three-run homer off Garcia to give the Padres a 3-1 lead. It was Nevin's first home run in more than two weeks.
Everett and Crede each hit solo homers off Brian Lawrence, who allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. Everett hit a two-out homer in the first and Crede homered leading off the fourth.
Garcia was hit hard all afternoon and allowed five runs on 10 hits.
Everett also had a one-out RBI single in the fifth.
- Nevin's last home run came on May 28 at San Francisco.
- Lawrence allowed multiple homers for the third time in his last five games. The right-hander has given up 10 homers.
- Frank Thomas made his only appearance in the series when he struck out in the seventh inning pinch-hitting for Garcia.