KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- All-Stars Jon Garland and Mark Buehrle are the Chicago White Sox pitchers most frequently mentioned as Cy Young award candidates.
However, Jose Contreras has been Chicago's most productive starter in the second half.
Contreras won his fifth consecutive start and the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals for the 13th time in 16 games this season, 6-4 on Tuesday night.
Juan Uribe hit two doubles, drove in a run and scored a run, raising his average in September to a major league-high .487. Aaron Rowand had four hits, including a career-high three doubles. Chicago hit seven doubles, a season high.
Contreras (12-7) improved to 8-2 since the All-Star break. He gave up four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked three and threw two wild pitches but struck out six.
"Since the All-Star game and right before, he's been great," Rowand said. "I think the biggest difference between him early in the season and him this run he's been on is he's throwing strikes and is getting ahead of hitters. He's working on a good tempo. It makes it a lot easier for us to play defense.
"They can't sit on a certain pitch and he doesn't walk guys. It's tough on a pitcher when you fall behind in the count. They know what's coming. We put together some two-out hits and put some runs up for Jose to go out and throw his game."
Contreras is 9-2 over his past 13 starts for the White Sox, who remained six games ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central.
"It was not easy for Jose," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He had to warm up three times because of the rain. They were moving the starting time every 15 minutes. He'd come back and sit down, warm up and then come back and sit down. You hope your starting pitcher holds up."
Contreras, however, downplayed the delays.
"I was ready to pitch my game once we started," Contreras said through an interpreter. "The rain was the last thing on my mind. I had a good fastball, kept the ball down in the zone, and my slider was effective early in the game."
Bobby Jenks pitched two innings for his second save.
Mike Wood, who had allowed just one run in 12 1/3 innings in his previous two starts, lasted just four innings and 82 pitches. Wood (4-7) gave up three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out three.
"I felt like I had good stuff, but ran out of gas a little earlier than I normally would," Wood said. "I didn't realize I had that many pitches. I had no clue that I threw that many. It didn't feel like it. I guess I was all over the place."
The White Sox scored three times with two outs in the fourth. Rowand and Jermaine Dye doubled, A.J. Pierzynski had a run-scoring single, and Uribe's double to shallow left gave Chicago a 3-1 lead.
Rowand's double in the fifth scored Carl Everett, who reached on an infield single. Uribe doubled in the sixth, advanced to third on Scott Podsednik's infield single and came home on Angel Berroa's throwing error.
The Royals scored three runs in the sixth, cutting Chicago's lead to 5-4. Mike Sweeney and Berroa each drove in a run and Terrence Long scored the other run on a wild pitch by Contreras.
"We're up by four runs and then we're up by one run," Guillen said. "It drives the manager crazy. Rowand had a big night. From now on somebody needs to step up and be a hero every game. Tonight it was Rowand."
Joe Crede doubled off Ambiorix Burgos, the fourth Kansas City pitcher, and scored on Podsednik's single in the eighth. Podsednik, who had three hits, is 21-for-53 in 13 games since coming off the disabled list.
The Royals scored an unearned run in the third, which Berroa led off by striking out but reaching first on a wild pitch. He stopped at second on John Buck's single and scored on Crede's throwing error on Andres Blanco's sacrifice bunt.
It was a bad night," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "If we don't win that game, we have a tough time winning any game. We had a lot of chances. They gave us a lot of opportunities. We just couldn't get any thing done with the opportunities we had."
Podsednik, who leads the majors with 56 stolen bases, hit his first triple of the season in the first inning in his 432nd at-bat. Rickey Henderson (1991, 1998) and Danny Murtaugh (1941) are the only players who led the league in stolen bases while hitting only one triple. ... Rain delayed the start of the game for 1 hour, 50 minutes. After playing just six minutes, there was a second rain delay of 32 minutes. ... The announced attendance of 9,535 was the smallest for a Royals' home game this season.