CINCINNATI -- Down to his last strike, Jon Garland figured a fastball was coming. His guess was right, his swing was right on.
And the result was downright rare.
Garland (6-3) had a lot of good moments on the mound, allowing only four singles while pitching into the ninth inning. Naturally, those were overshadowed by one swing.
"We were all laughing," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He talks a lot of trash about hitting."
His two-run shot in the eighth off reliever Esteban Yan was his first career homer and the first by a White Sox pitcher since Steve Kealey's on Sept. 6, 1971, against Minnesota -- two years before the AL adopted the designated hitter.
"It shocked me more than anything," said Garland, who had only two career hits in interleague play before the homer.
The way the White Sox are playing these days, nothing shocks their opponents. They've won 10 of 13, moving a season-high 19 games over .500 while keeping the pressure on AL Central-leading Detroit.
"Those guys don't have any holes over there," Reds manager Jerry Narron marveled. "They won the World Series last year, and they're playing better than they did a year ago. After they've won it, they believe in themselves."
In truth, the White Sox can win any which way.
Alex Cintron singled home the go-ahead run, and Rob Mackowiak matched his career high with four singles as the bottom of Chicago's formidable lineup came through early. Garland and Jermaine Dye homered as the White Sox pulled away to yet another win over Cincinnati.
Chicago has won nine straight against the Reds, leading their interleague series 12-2 overall. It was the third time the White Sox have swept a series from Cincinnati. They also did it in 2000 at Cinergy Field and in 2001 in Chicago.
A 2-8 homestand wiped out everything the Reds had gained during their eight-game winning streak to open the month. Many of the fans wore White Sox jerseys and rooted for the visitors during the weekend series -- something the players noticed.
It was Cincinnati's worst 10-game homestand since 1950.
"This is a terrible homestand," said Brandon Phillips, who had one of the four hits off Garland. "You see everybody in the stands for the White Sox -- they came to support their team. I understand why Reds fans are mad. We're not being consistent."
One of the AL's most balanced offenses showed it can win by doing the little things. Chicago had five bunts, playing it modest for the first seven innings. Then, it got the two clinching homers -- Dye followed Garland's homer with a three-run shot in the ninth off Mike Burns, just back from Triple-A.
Garland (6-3) is behind his pace from last season, when he went 11-2 in his first 13 starts. The right-hander has given up a lot of homers -- 19 -- and a lot of big innings. He managed to avoid both of those downfalls in a ballpark where the ball flies, retiring 13 in a row before Phillips singled to start the ninth.
"He threw really well," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "In his last two outings, he's gotten a lot of ground balls. Last year, he had a good change-up. It looks like he's starting to get the feel for it again."
Aaron Harang (7-4) matched Garland through five scoreless innings, having fully recovered from a virus that limited him in his last start. The White Sox finally broke through in the sixth, when Jim Thome walked, Dye singled and Pierzynski sacrificed for the first out. Cintron singled to score Thome for a 1-0 lead.
Guillen then gambled and lost. The White Sox tried a squeeze with Juan Uribe at bat. He popped up the bunt, catcher Jason LaRue made a diving catch, and Dye was tagged out a few steps from home.
The White Sox knocked Harang out of the game in the seventh, when Tadahito Iguchi singled home a run and Thome had a sacrifice fly after the bottom of the order set up the rally.
- Thome made his first start of the season at first base and went 0-for-2 with a walk and the sacrifice fly. Thome, who has been the DH all season, was out of the lineup for the first two games in an NL ballpark.
- Mackowiak had been in a 3-for-20 slump.
- The Reds held a moment of silence before the game for Brian Wilson, their scouting supervisor in Texas who died of a heart attack Saturday night at age 33. Wilson played three seasons in the Reds' farm system.
- Burns was called up from Triple-A Louisville on Sunday to take the roster spot of LHP Brandon Claussen, who went on the 15-day DL on Saturday.
- LaRue made his first start since June 7. He went 0-for-2, leaving him in a 2-for-34 rut.