After a weekend sweep of the Detroit Tigers -- the team with the best record in the majors -- the White Sox kept rolling with a victory over the one with the worst, beating the Kansas City Royals 12-2 Monday night behind an eight-run fourth inning.
"I think a lot of the weekend carried over," said Thome, whose 36th homer capped the eight-run outburst against Mark Redman. "You could see the momentum. The excitement and enthusiasm we have was there."
The defending World Series champions have now won six of seven and 12 of their last 17. They trail Detroit, which beat Boston on Monday, by 5½ games in the AL Central and lead the wild card by three games.
"We know what is at stake. We know how we have to play to try to get where we want to go," said A.J. Pierzynski, whose two-run single was a key in the fourth inning.
"There is not enough time for letdowns. There are 40-some games left and we need to try to win every single game."
Jon Garland (13-4), who had an eight-game winning streak snapped in his previous outing against the Yankees, allowed seven hits and a run in seven innings and benefited from the run support. He is now 13-5 in his career against Kansas City, the most victories he has against any opponent.
Thome started the fourth against Redman (7-7) with a single and then drove him out with a two-run homer later in the inning. The White Sox sent 11 batters to the plate.
"We were fortunate to get some pitches to hit and capitalized," Thome said. "He knows how to pitch. He changes speeds very well. Some of the balls he left in the middle of the plate we hit pretty yard. It worked out."
After Thome's leadoff hit, Paul Konerko singled before Redman hit Jermaine Dye to load the bases with no outs.
Pierzynski sliced a two-run single to left and Joe Crede followed with a two-run double to left-center with Pierzynski scoring all the way from first as Royals' shortstop Angel Berroa double-clutched on the relay throw. Crede moved up on a fly ball and scored when Brian Anderson blooped a single to right over the drawn-in infield to make it 5-0. Anderson advanced on a slow roller and scored on Tadahito Iguchi's two-out single to center.
Thome hit a towering fly to left, making it 8-0 and finishing Redman, who made the All-Star team this season. Redman, winless in his last four starts, gave up 10 hits and eight runs in 3 2/3 innings.
"I fell behind and they hit some good pitches," Redman said. "You have to stop the bleeding. You have some hitters' parks and some pitchers' parks and you have to adjust to the playing field and make some pitches."
Anderson was 3-for-3, including his seventh homer off reliever Joel Peralta in the sixth for a 9-0 lead. Chicago finished with 16 hits and there was no emotional letdown after taking two of three from the Yankees and then sweeping three from the Tigers.
"Everyone was ready to go," said Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen, whose team is 9-4 against the Royals this season. "As a manager you always worry how the guys are going to show up the next day. Good thing the intensity was there."
Kansas City broke up Garland's shutout in the seventh as Emil Brown walked, Ryan Shealy singled and Berroa hit an RBI double. Chicago added three in the bottom half as Ross Gload, Pierzynski, Rob Mackowiak and Juan Uribe hit consecutive singles off Andrew Sisco to make it 11-1. Pablo Ozuna knocked in the final run on by grounding into a fielder's choice.
Kansas City's John Buck hit a solo homer leading off the ninth, his ninth of the season.
Ozuna made a diving catch of Mike Sweeney's sinking liner to left to end the top of the third. The play kept the Royals from taking an early lead because Mark Grudzielanek had doubled with two outs and would have scored had the ball fallen in.
- Missouri native Crede now has 15 RBI against the Royals this season in 49 at-bats.
- After being hit in the calf by Redman, Dye was replaced by Gload in right field in the fifth as a precaution. Guillen said he expects Dye to play Wednesday.
- The Royals gave up 11 first-inning runs to the Indians on Sunday in a 13-0 loss.
- The White Sox's season-high for runs in an inning is 11 against the Cardinals on June 20.