After fading near the finish line, the White Sox believe they might have found their second wind.
The Sox (87-74) trail first-place Minnesota by a half-game in the AL Central and can force a one-game playoff with the Twins on Tuesday should they beat visiting Detroit and former teammate Freddy Garcia in a makeup game Monday at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I'll take my chance," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We're playing here."
The Sox were asked repeatedly about facing Garcia, who pitched for them from 2004 to 2006, developed a reputation as a big-game pitcher during the 2005 championship season and married the niece of Guillen's wife, Ibis. He has missed most of the last two seasons with shoulder trouble.
Guillen said he sent a text message to Garcia after Sunday's game.
"[Garcia] is going to compete and battle us and do everything he can to try and knock us out because it would give him great joy to be able to talk a lot of trash to Ozzie," A.J. Pierzynski said. "The bottom line is we were hoping we wouldn't have to play that game. Now we have to, and it will mean something."
Should the Sox lose, it would cap a frustrating end to a winning season in which they led the division by 21/2 games as late as Sept. 21.
"Hopefully, this is the start of a new cycle going in the other direction," Konerko said after hitting his fourth home run in three games to help halt a five-game losing streak. "It felt good out there. A lot of the wins we've had this year, especially in the first half, they felt like that. Hopefully, that plays into [Monday], and Gavin [Floyd] takes the baton from Buehrle and runs with it."
After throwing 121 pitches Wednesday, Buehrle threw 111 pitches Sunday, averting trouble by inducing four double-play grounders and picking a runner off first. Jhonny Peralta's second-inning homer was the only damaging hit of the nine he allowed.
Buehrle worked seven innings, preserving the bullpen for Monday's game.
"We know the situation and what all this means," said Dye, who is 6-for-12 with two home runs in the last three games after going nearly a month without a homer.
"We're not going to panic. Those who haven't been in this situation before might go up and panic, and we expect that. But we've been around the game long enough to know you take a deep breath, go out there and, hopefully, the things you learn over the course of a year come through for you."
Konerko is enjoying a strong finish to a poor season. He was 5-for-12 against Cleveland.
"P.K. is a big part of this club," Guillen said, citing a series of nagging injuries as the cause of Konerko's below-the-norm numbers.
"The reason he struggled all year was because he tried to do too much. He wanted to try too hard and all of a sudden he started digging himself in a big hole. He became more relaxed and aggressive at the plate."