Many White Sox fans cheered Sunday when the scoreboard at U.S. Cellular Field posted St. Louis' 1-0 victory over the Cubs.
One inning later, Sox fans had more to celebrate, a 3-2 triumph over the Toronto Blue Jays to cap a winning homestand and vault the South Siders into a first-place tie with the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.
"Today was the best game we played all year," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We executed well all day."
The Sox parlayed two sacrifice bunts (six in the last two games), two sacrifice flies and a solo homer by Frank Thomas into their eighth one-run victory at home this season. They finished the 12-game homestand 7-5.
Jon Garland (2-1) went seven-plus innings, maneuvering his way through several jams and benefiting from outstanding defense to earn the victory.
Following effective relievers Damaso Marte and Cliff Politte, closer Billy Koch picked up his third save with a scoreless ninth inning.
"I'm out there giving 100 percent and I'm trying to win [the AL Central]," Koch said. "Everybody in here is trying to win this for the city of Chicago. It's not going to be from a lack of effort."
Garland allowed two runs on 10 hits, walked one and struck out five.
"As a rotation and as a staff, I think we need to get into the game a little deeper," said Garland, who threw 96 pitches.
Six of Toronto's last eight losses to the White Sox have been by one run.
"[Garland] is always tough on us," Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. "He throws four pitches, including a good sinker. For whatever reason, he always pitches an exceptional game against us."
After Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the first, the White Sox manufactured runs in the first and third innings.
Willie Harris led off the bottom of the first with a double, was sacrificed to third by Juan Uribe and scored on a sacrifice fly by Magglio Ordonez.
In the third inning Aaron Rowand doubled, advanced to third on a bunt by Miguel Olivo and tallied on a sacrifice fly by Harris. Thomas blasted his fifth homer of the season with one out in the fourth to make it 3-1.
The Blue Jays threatened but did not score in the fifth when Gregg Zaun and Chris Gomez led off with singles off Garland. A one-out single by Frank Catalanotto loaded the bases. But Vernon Wells bounced into an inning-ending double play.
"If Willie [Harris] doesn't do the backhand, little Robbie Alomar-flip to second, there is no way we could have gotten Wells on the double play," Koch said. "That was just heads-up baseball, knowing who's running and turning a huge double play."
Toronto made noise again in the seventh, but Carlos Lee nailed Zaun trying to score on a flyout to left by Catalanotto.
"At that point, if I caught a fly ball, I knew I had to give it a shot," said Lee. "I wasn't going to try to throw it low or bounce it, I was going to let it go [on the fly]."
The Sox are a major-league-best 9-1 in one-run games.
"We got a key double play. Koch came out of the bullpen and did his job. We moved the guy over and we got him in. We did not rely on the home run guys," Guillen said.
"Obviously [Thomas] helped us with the home run. But when we don't swing the bat real well, we have to do all those little things."Copyright © 2015, CT Now