When the White Sox were pulling out their share of low-scoring games in April and May, the starting pitchers politely reminded everyone that their offense would pick up the slack in the future.
Such a moment came Monday night for Freddy Garcia, who was the beneficiary of much-needed run support to escape with his shakiest victory.
Thanks to a 22-hit attack fueled by the return of Jermaine Dye, Garcia won his 10th game as the Sox outlasted Kansas City 14-6.
"It's about time," manager Ozzie Guillen said of the offensive outburst in a game that took 3 hours 28 minutes.
The 22 hits equaled the Sox's season high set June 8 at Colorado.
The Sox (65-33) beat the Royals for the 10th time in as many games this season while extending their lead to 12 games over Minnesota in the American League Central.
The offense seemed comfortable with a return to division play, where they are 32-7. They also won their fifth consecutive road game while extending their major league-best road record to 32-14. Every player in the Sox starting lineup except designated hitter Carl Everett had at least two hits.
Dye showed no signs of rustiness after missing four games to a staph infection in his left leg he got from spider bites.
Dye had his fifth three-hit game and drove in four runs for the second time this season. His two-run single of Zack Greinke was the highlight of the five-run first inning.
"[My teammates] were teasing me about `Spider-Man,' and all that crazy stuff," said Dye, who credited an early batting practice session for his success. "I'm just happy to be back."
Dye added another two-run single in the fourth, but the Sox needed a bigger cushion because of Garcia's struggles.
"It's big for our offense to score as many runs as we did," Dye said. "Freddy has been in a lot of tough games and came up big for us."
Dye also leaped near the top of the right-field fence to rob Mike Sweeney of an extra base hit in the fifth, one batter after Garcia surrendered a home run to Terrence Long.
"[Garcia] was very rusty," Guillen said. "I don't think he was sharp. He was behind on a lot of hitters. I don't think we saw the Freddy that we've seen in four or five outings."
Garcia (10-4) allowed 12 hits for the second consecutive start but left after six innings with a 10-5 lead. He has allowed four earned runs or more in four of his past five starts. He has a 5.29 ERA in July after posting a 2.84 mark in June.
"I feel good," Garcia said. "Sometimes you can't get people out with your best stuff. Kansas City has hit me pretty good in the past."
In his career, Garcia is 21-9 with a 3.31 in June, compared to 11-13 with a 4.80 ERA in July.
Despite a five-run cushion in the top of the first, Garcia couldn't stop his habit of slow starts. He was scored upon in the first inning for the eighth time in his past 11 starts.
Willie Harris made the most of a rare start at second with three hits. He could get another start if Guillen sticks with his plan to rest Tadahito Iguchi him for a second night.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun