CHICAGO -- Frank Thomas showed the Chicago White Sox what they had been missing.
Thomas hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the White Sox rallied for a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday night to improve to a major league-best 30 games over .500.
"That's what we have him for," manager Ozzie Guillen said of his designated hitter. "That's right, he can't do anything else. He can hit and hopefully he can run the bases. This guy has always come in the clutch. We know what kind of player Frank, what kind of hitter he is."
Thomas gives the White Sox a presence in the middle of the lineup that wasn't there the first two months of the season while Thomas was recovering from offseason surgery on his left ankle.
Thomas isn't back to full strength. He is hitting .246 -- 62 points below his career average -- after going 2-for-4 on Tuesday. But in 69 at-bats, he has 18 RBI.
"Once you get over that 100 at-bat mark, that's when you've got to worry about the average," Thomas said. "If I get on a roll, the average will jump. I'm just focusing on helping this team any way I can right now. If the long ball is what it is, I'll take it.
"To be honest, I'm really not trying to hit the ball out of the park."
Scott Podsednik started the eighth with a double off the left-field wall, and Tadahito Iguchi singled to right, putting runners at first and third. Thomas then hit a 1-0 slider from Lance Carter (1-2) over the fence in left. It was Thomas' 10th homer and helped send the Devil Rays to their seventh consecutive loss.
"He threw two sliders; the second was a little higher," Thomas said. "I was ready to hit the ball to the outfield and get that run home."
Cliff Politte (6-0) recorded the final out of the eighth inning. Dustin Hermanson pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 22 opportunities.
Jermaine Dye hit his 19th homer for the White Sox, who improved to 56-26.
Tampa Bay starter Mark Hendrickson outpitched Freddy Garcia, but neither figured in the decision.
Hendrickson, 1-3 with an 8.81 ERA in his previous six starts, kept the team with the best record in baseball in check, allowing three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Garcia allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings and was in danger of losing for the first time since May 14 before Thomas homered.
After watching the Devil Rays lose for the 10th time after blowing a lead in the eighth inning, Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said he plans to have a reliever start Wednesday, then turn to Casey Fossum, who is scheduled to start. Reporters laughed. But Piniella insisted he's serious.
"I've made up my mind and that's what we're going to do," he said. "People are going to think I'm crazy, but we're just going to try it. Starting (Wednesday), I'll bring in whatever reliever I feel like starting the game with, and I'll bring my starter in in the third inning and we'll play nine innings of baseball that way.
After the White Sox scored a run in the fifth to tie it at 2-all, Tampa Bay scored two runs in the sixth.
With one out, Aubrey Huff singled and Travis Lee walked. Damon Hollins sent a line drive down the left-field line for a ground-rule double that drove in Huff with the go-ahead run. The lead grew to 4-2 when Nick Green hit a grounder to short and Lee just beat the throw home from Juan Uribe.
The White Sox scored a run in the seventh but left runners on first and second.
Aaron Rowand singled with one out and went to third on A.J. Pierzynski's two-out single. Pablo Ozuna chased Hendrickson with an RBI single up the middle, but reliever Travis Harper induced Uribe to pop up to end the inning.
Carl Crawford led off the game with his ninth homer -- his 100th hit this season. It was the fifth time in his past seven starts that Garcia allowed a run in the first inning.
Dye tied it in the second when he pulled a 2-2 pitch into the left-field seats for his third homer in as many games. It's the third time this season he has homered in three consecutive games.
It was Thomas who won it for the White Sox.
"Early in the year, I got good pitches to hit because people knew I was away for awhile," Thomas said. "But the last 10 days, they've been really pitching me tough. ... I just really wanted to lock in more. I was swinging at a lot of balls out of the zone."
White Sox 3B Joe Crede was a late scratch from the lineup with a sore back, but he entered the game in the eighth. ... The White Sox called up right-handed reliever Bobby Jenks from Double-A Birmingham before Tuesday's game. He replaces P Brandon McCarthy, who was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte after Monday's game. ... Garcia notched his 1,000th strikeout. ... Dye homered in three consecutive games May 21-23 and June 14-17.