After helping the White Sox bash their way to a convincing three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Nick Swisher appears ready for his first crosstown challenge against the Cubs.
"You guys wanted consistency, so we went out and had a little consistency," Swisher said while glaring at reporters Thursday after the Sox rallied quickly from a six-run deficit for a 13-8 victory and a sweep in which the offense scored 37 runs.
This was the potion the Sox sought to give them momentum heading into their weekend series at Wrigley Field after losing slugger Paul Konerko to injury.
Jermaine Dye led the way with two home runs, including a seventh-inning grand slam that capped a six-RBI performance.
"This game is about unity and picking each other up, and they're doing that right now," manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Gavin Floyd, who gave up six runs after Pablo Ozuna's two-out throwing error in the second, was the first to congratulate Dye after his solo homer in the third put the Sox ahead 7-6.
The comeback triumph added fuel for the Cubs series, which Guillen already billed as bigger than the annual meeting between the Mets and Yankees because of the Chicago fans' passion for two first-place teams.
Guillen said he even had a meeting with some of his players who will experience the city rivalry for the first time.
"I said, 'Listen, it's going to be a different scenario than what you've seen in the past. This is lights out,' " Guillen said. "They can't wait to live this experience."
There's added anticipation because the Sox offense is starting to support the pitching staff. They collected 44 hits and slugged 10 homers against the Pirates.
Dye has hit three homers in his last three games. Orlando Cabrera's three-run homer in the second capped a six-run rally and was his third homer in six games.
After the Sox fell behind 6-0 in the second, Guillen said he sensed his team's confidence beginning to swell after Jim Thome led off the Sox second with an opposite-field double off Phil Dumatrait, the second of three consecutive left-handers the Sox will face.
"Just the way we've been playing at home, we didn't think we'd definitely be out of it," center fielder Brian Anderson said. "You can't count us out, especially in the first couple of innings."
Despite getting roughed up early, Floyd (8-3) pitched deep enough into the game that the Sox bullpen remains fresh for the weekend.
And the Sox hope their offensive revival at home can shift about eight miles to the north.
"There's something about being here that wakes our bats up, and hopefully we can carry it over on the road," Dye said after hitting his seventh career grand slam.
After winning three straight, Guillen described his team as "unpredictable."
"The expectation is higher than people think from me and [general manager] Kenny Williams because we know we have a good lineup," Guillen said. "We know from top to bottom we'll score some runs. We've scuffled here and there and we're still in first place.
"I want to see this club start hitting the way we can hit. It will be fun."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun