Was it real, or was it the Royals?
Whatever the reason, White Sox hitters eased some of the tension created by manager Ozzie Guillen with a 9-5 victory Tuesday night over the Royals, who have lost 13 times in their last 15 games.
Almost forgotten amid the controversy surrounding Guillen's critical remarks of the offense was that his Sox are sitting in first place in the American League Central for the 44th day, this time by 11/2 games over the Twins.
And they did it by tying a season high with four homers and scoring their most runs since May 18 against Zack Greinke, who came in with the league's sixth-best earned-run average.
So maybe Guillen should go off more often?
"That's not healthy for myself, believe me it's not healthy," he said.
Using basically the same lineup he did while losing three straight in Tampa Bay, Guillen admitted, "I don't want to make it work that way, but I still believe we have great talent out there and it's about getting out there and doing it."
Nearly the entire Sox lineup did it Tuesday while backing Gavin Floyd, who improved to 6-3 by allowing two earned runs in seven innings.
Alexei Ramirez had his second straight three-hit game, Mr. Reliable Carlos Quentin started the scoring with a first-inning two-run homer, A.J. Pierzynski hit his first homer since April 22, a span of 124 at-bats, and Nick Swisher hit his first homer at U.S. Cellular Field since April 26, one at-bat after being booed.
"It's so funny," Swisher said. "A lot of things are written ... then we go out and put up nine [runs]. You guys should write more bad stuff about us."
The only negatives were that Swisher dipped below .200 in his second at-bat and Paul Konerko and Jim Thome took oh-fers that dropped their averages to .202 and .208, respectively.
"You look at the positives," Konerko said. "We're in first, and even if we were five games back, I would say we're in good shape because we haven't even come close to playing up to our capabilities."
Thome added: "We're in a lot better position now than we were a year ago."
A year ago after 57 games (58 have been played this season counting the suspended game), the Sox were 26-31 and nine games out in fourth place.
All-in-all it was a joyous night for the 21,727 at U.S. Cellular Field, as the Sox started a string when they play 26 of their next 32 games in Chicago, counting three games at Wrigley Field on June 20-22.
They started this homestand having played just 22 home games, fewest in the major leagues, and hoping that warm, humid weather would help get their bats heated up.
"We've battled through April and May, we've played more games on the road than any team in baseball, so we've got to make [home] an advantage for us," embattled hitting coach Greg Walker said.
"We've got to play loosey-goosey baseball. The team that can stay the loosest and happiest, that's the team that's going to win this."
Tuesday loosened things up somewhat after beating Greinke, even though he pitches for the lowly Royals.
"We jumped on him early and that gave everybody confidence," Pierzynski said. "That's what we need. We know we have guys who can hit."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun