The White Sox just concluded an 8-2 homestand and still are in first place in the AL Central. Neither is a small accomplishment, considering the competition.
They maintained their one-game lead over the Twins, baseball's hottest team, who have won 16 of 18 games.
Harden had been 5-0, the Cubs' Ryan Dempster 9-2 and Cleveland's Cliff Lee 11-1 when the Sox beat them, though Lee was not charged with the loss.
"Huge," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Eight-and-two is a great homestand. We played well against three pretty good teams. [Harden] is about as good as it gets."
Dempster, Lee and Justin Duchscherer, who beat the Sox by one run Thursday, made the All-Star team. No Sox pitchers made it, and that includes John Danks, who outpitched Harden on Sunday and is third in the league in ERA.
"I knew I was kind of a long shot anyway because the wins are not there," Danks (6-4) said. "But the team wins are."
Danks, who matched his victory total from last season, is 2-0 with a 1.11 ERA in his last five starts.
"He's been better than the record shows," manager Ozzie Guillen said.
But the left-hander had the league's third-lowest run support coming into Sunday, and his teammates barely outdid the 3.3 runs they have averaged for him. Last time out, Danks was left with a no-decision despite allowing only one run in eight innings. That's because he was facing Lee.
This time the offense got him one run in the first inning — though it was unearned — and two more in the third, scoring a fourth run on Pierzynski's sacrifice fly after Danks had left the game.
The first run came on a two-out error, a Jermaine Dye single and walks to Jim Thome and Joe Crede. In the fourth, Crede singled and Nick Swisher walked. Crede scored on Alexei Ramirez's single and Swisher on Dewayne Wise's sacrifice fly.
Crede was in a 6-for-47 slump but went 1-for-3.
"The funny thing is, I don't feel like I'm in a slump because of the [good] at-bats I've been having," he said. "I don't feel overmatched by any means. I've hit the ball hard, just right at guys. Obviously the results are not there, but I've hit the ball hard."
Danks took a no-hitter into the sixth inning for the third time this season but couldn't make it through the seventh, when he gave up two runs before being bailed out by reliever Matt Thornton.
With closer Bobby Jenks nursing a sore left shoulder, Scott Linebrink pitched the ninth for his first save of the season, but it was not easy. Not only did Linebrink allow a run, he left two other runners on base.
"Never easy," said Linebrink, who has been overloaded with work lately. "This time of year everybody gets a little worn [down]. I knew that coming in, but you've got to find a way to get it done."
He did, and so did the Sox, who have won 10 of their last 12 home games.
"To play the way we did for our fans and [to have] a pretty good stretch, we'll hopefully continue to do the same stuff on the road," Guillen said.
"Hopefully when we come back home, we'll be in the same place we are right now."
WHITE SOX 4, ATHLETICS 3
Danks powers White Sox past Oakland
Finish homestand 8-2; still able to hold off hot teams, pitchers
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