White Sox's offense pops with four homers, lead Central by one game

CHICAGO (AP) -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he thinks the AL Rookie of the Year is on his team. He's reserving judgment on whether a White Sox player should also win the MVP award.

Rookie Alexei Ramirez hit a three-run home run and Carlos Quentin hit his major league-leading 35th home run in the eighth to help the Chicago White Sox beat the dismal Seattle Mariners 13-5 on Monday night.

With the win, the White Sox took a one-game lead in the AL Central over Minnesota, which lost 3-2 to Oakland.

Ramirez also hit a grand slam on Sunday, Quentin has homered in seven of his last 12 games and owns a .293 batting average with 96 RBIs. There was chants of MVP from the sellout crowd after his homer.

"On my team, yes. I have a couple of guys out there," Guillen said. "I think the Missile [Ramirez] should win it. The MVP, we still have a month to go. It's kind of early to say who should be MVP."

Guillen said Ramirez has a shot because his main competition, Evan Longoria of Tampa Bay, is hurt.

The 26-year-old Ramirez is hitting .308 with 13 homers and 51 RBIs. Not bad for a guy who hit .121 in limited action in April.

Teammate Jermaine Dye is not surprised by the success that Quentin and Ramirez has had.

"Not at all. Those guys have put up numbers before," Dye said. "Whether Quentin has done it in the minor leagues and Alexei has done it in Cuba, these guys are capable of being great ballplayers and they are doing a heck of a job for us this year."

Nick Swisher hit a two-run home run and Orlando Cabrera started a six-run fifth inning with another two-run shot for Chicago, which improved to 43-19 at home.

Dye doubled twice and drove in two runs for the White Sox, who have won six of their last seven games.

The White Sox lead the majors with 182 homers. They hit four homers for the second straight game.

Yuniesky Betancourt hit a solo homer in the sixth inning for the Mariners, who have lost four straight and own the worst record in the AL.

White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (11-10) survived a shaky performance to improve to 8-3 at home. He allowed five runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Buehrle appreciated the offensive output.

"Especially when I go out there and pitch the way I did," Buehrle said. "That's the reason why I hate this game sometimes. When you go out there and make your pitches and they find holes, infield hits, bunts, right over the infielder's head. That's why this game sometimes is frustrating."

Trailing 4-3 in the fifth inning, the White Sox pounded Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn, who couldn't hold his second lead of the game. The White Sox brought 12 batters to the plate and scored six runs on six hits.

Washburn walked Juan Uribe and then Cabrera homered to give the White Sox a 5-4 lead. It was his seventh of the season and first since June 19th.

After A.J. Pierzynski walked, Quentin singled and Dye ended Washburn's night with a two-run double to make it 7-4.

"The ball definitely flies here," Washburn said. "But I've thrown some good games here and I'm not blaming the park at all. I didn't throw the ball good."

Mariners reliever Miguel Batista didn't fare well either. He walked Jim Thome and hit Paul Konerko with a pitch. Then Swisher and Ramirez followed with consecutive RBI singles to give Buehrle and the White Sox a 9-4 lead.

Ramirez padded the lead in seventh with a three-run homer off Mariners reliever Jake Woods to make it 12-5. Ramirez has eight RBIs in last two games.

Ramirez homered in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

The White Sox have scored 26 runs in the last two games. They've done it with just 20 hits, in part because they've walked 13 times.

Washburn (5-13) allowed eight runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.

"Our pitching was going good for quite a while and we were struggling with the bats," Mariners interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Now it seems like we're getting 12 or 15 hits a night and the pitching is starting to struggle or has been struggling for a little while."

Game notes
There is no timetable on a possible return for White Sox 3B Joe Crede, who has been on the disabled list with an injured back since July 25th. "You know what, to be honest, I come to the ballpark I don't ask about Joe Crede," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I'm not going to say he's out of my mind, but he's out of my picture. That's the way I'm going about my job. I've got 25 problems, I don't need 26." ... Before the game, Guillen said LHP Clayton Richard will start on Tuesday against the Mariners. ... Mariners RHP R.A. Dickey will start Wednesday against the White Sox. ... White Sox OF Ken Griffey Jr. had the night off against his former team. ... ... Mariners C Jeff Clement had a career-high three hits.