CHICAGO -- Jose Contreras returned from a stint in the minors, rebounded from a miserable start and has given the Chicago White Sox the reliable pitching that has helped produce a long stretch of winning baseball.
"He came up right at the time we needed him the most," manager Ozzie Guillen said Wednesday night after Contreras beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 -- the White Sox's 16th victory in 22 games.
"Since he got back from the minors, he's been a big help. Huge. ... I think since he got here, stuff started to turn around with the pitching staff," Guillen added.
Contreras (4-7) allowed one run and six hits over 6 1/3 innings. He is 4-2 with a 2.06 ERA in six starts since being recalled from the minors June 8. His trip to Triple-A was made so he could work on his pitches after an 0-5 start.
"I didn't think I was going to come back and maybe pitch the way I've been pitching," Contreras said through a translator. "But I'm glad it's been working out. It means all the work had paid off."
Contreras, the ace of the White Sox staff in the second half of 2005 and in the playoffs that season when they won the World Series, ruptured his Achilles' tendon last August. He made a remarkably quick comeback. Maybe too quick, despite losing 30 pounds after the injury.
"Losing all the weight, if I knew that would have helped me out that much I might have lost it six years ago," Contreras said. "Physically I was ready when I came in at the beginning of the season, but I don't think mentally I was ready. The edge wasn't there, but finally it's all coming together."
Jhonny Peralta's sixth homer of the season ended Contreras' shutout bid in the seventh. After Travis Hafner and Ryan Garko followed Peralta's homer with consecutive singles, Matt Thornton relieved and got pinch-hitter Jamey Carroll to hit into a double play.
Contreras' win was his second in a week over the last-place Indians, who are 19 games under .500 (33-52). He walked one and struck out a season-high nine.
"He was throwing from two angles. He was working really good," Peralta said. "He was better today. He threw more fastballs and it was moving away."
Jermaine Dye drove in three runs with three hits for the White Sox.
Dye had an RBI double in the first inning and a run-scoring single in the third off Aaron Laffey (3-2) and singled home another run in the seventh off Jose Veras.
Laffey, who strained his right oblique on May 22, was activated from the disabled list before the game. He allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings in his first start since May 2.
"It felt good to be back out there and be back in that competitive atmosphere," Laffey said. "I feel like a part of the team again."
Chicago got a run in the first when Alexei Ramirez singled and raced home on Dye's double into the left-field corner.
The White Sox tacked on three in the third when they had four straight hits. Scott Podsednik walked and Ramirez singled before Dye and Paul Konerko followed with RBI singles to make it 3-0. Another single by Jayson Nix loaded the bases and Gordon Beckham's sacrifice fly put Chicago ahead by four.
Contreras struck out six of the first nine batters he faced, including the side in the second inning. After getting two singles in the first, Cleveland didn't manage another hit until Asdrubal Cabrera's infield single off Beckham's glove at third base in the sixth.
Victor Martinez snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a first-inning single. With runners at first and second and one out, Contreras fanned Shin-Soo Choo before Peralta grounded into a forceout.
The Indians have lost 17 of 22. ... White Sox LF Carlos Quentin, who is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, might not be ready until after the All-Star break. Quentin is suffering from plantar fasciitis and is still not running at full speed, Guillen said. ... One night after his three-homer, seven-RBI performance, Konerko went 2 for 4 with two singles and an RBI.