White Sox hitting stride, win seventh straight

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jermaine Dye showed in October he can deliver in
the final month of the season. Now he's doing it again for the
Chicago White Sox in the opening weeks of a new year.

Dye, the World Series MVP, homered, drove in four runs and had
three hits Saturday night as the White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins
9-2 for their seventh straight victory and 11th in 12 games.

"I'm usually a slow starter anyway. I'm just trying to do what
I can. I don't know what it is," said Dye, who batted .175 in the
opening month of 2005 but is now hitting .340.

"I haven't changed anything. I'm just coming up with big hits
in situations. Maybe I'm just feeding off other players."

One of those would be Jim Thome. Dye had a three-run homer to
get the White Sox started in the first and Thome wrapped it up with
a two-run shot in the eighth.

Thome's homer off Jesse Crain made it 9-2. It was his ninth
homer in April, tying the White Sox's franchise record for the
month, set by Frank Thomas in 1996.

"Jermaine is a very professional hitter and he has very good
at-bats," Thome said. "He kinda kick started it and helped us
against (Brad) Radke. It's like, `Who is going to do it today?' I
think we are rocking and rolling here."

Chicago starter Freddy Garcia (3-1) pitched 6 2-3 innings,
giving up two runs and seven hits, including Torii Hunter's fifth
homer in the sixth.

Trailing 6-2, the Twins loaded the bases in the seventh against
Chicago relievers Boone Logan and Brandon McCarthy with two walks
and an infield single before Dye went to the fence in right to haul
in Hunter's long drive and end the threat.

"When he first hit it, I thought it was probably gone. It had
just gotten cold. Maybe earlier when it was warm it would have gone
out," Dye said.

Dye's third homer was a two-out shot that followed singles by
Tadahito Iguchi and Paul Konerko. Dye is batting .563 with runners
in scoring position.

And his early homer continued a disturbing trend for Twins
right-hander Brad Radke.

Radke (2-2) has given up eight homers this season, including
three in the first. In his career, he's surrendered 73 homers in
the opening inning.

Radke lasted five innings, giving up 10 hits and six runs.

"It's not happening, it's just not happening," Radke said.
"It seems like every time I make a mistake over the plate, it gets
hit pretty hard. I just need to do a little better job of locating
the ball. That's all."

Dye entered the game batting just .148 against Radke in his
career, but you would have not known it based on his latest

"It's a new year and he caught me when I was swinging good,"
Dye said.

Chicago added another run in the second on a leadoff double by
Rob Mackowiak, breaking an 0-for-15 slump, and a two-out,
run-scoring double from Iguchi.

In the fifth, Thome walked, Konerko singled and Dye hit an RBI
double inside the third-base line. After A.J. Pierzynski was walked
intentionally to load the bases, Joe Crede made it 6-1 with an RBI

Crede added a run-scoring single in the seventh. Dye nearly had
his fourth hit in the eighth but Rondell White made a great catch
of his drive to left.

Garcia, who lost a one-hitter against the Twins last year, gave
up a run in the fifth when Lew Ford singled, stole second and third
and scored on Luis Rodriguez's RBI grounder.

Garcia walked one and struck out three, throwing 113 pitches.

Game notes
Garcia got the 102nd win of his career, tying him with
former White Sox lefty Wilson Alvarez for the most by a Venezuelan
pitcher. His previous win came against Toronto last Sunday in a
rain-shortened game. ... The crowd of 38,955 was the White Sox's
third sellout of the season. ... Twins 2B Luis Castillo missed his
second straight game with a sore right knee but could play Sunday.
OF Shannon Stewart missed his third game in a row to be with his
wife after the birth of their daughter Thursday. He is expected to
rejoin the club on Monday in Kansas City. ... Thome has scored in
all 17 games, a major league record to start a season, according to
the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Radke is now 14-14 lifetime against
the White Sox. In his previous start against the Yankees, he also
gave up 10 hits and six runs, but lasted six innings.