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Garland wins, hits first HR by ChiSox pitcher in 35 years

CINCINNATI (AP) -- 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 hit the first homer by a Chicago White Sox pitcher in 35
years on Sunday, the best of his many good moments in an 8-1
victory that completed a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.

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.

Game notes
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.