Onward, upward, still looking good

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Order was restored Wednesday night for Freddy Garcia.

Garcia could turn around and look at shortstop, where Juan Uribe and not Joe Crede ranged far to his right to nail Mark Teahen on a force play in the third inning.

Garcia could then shift his attention to the scoreboard, where his offense gave him enough support to pitch with a cushion.

Although Garcia ran into trouble in the seventh inning, a cast of relievers bailed him out to secure his 4-2 victory over Kansas City before an announced crowd of 12,712 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Sox improved their major league-best record to 20-7 while extending their winning streak to four games and five straight over the Royals, who received a postgame tongue-lashing from manager Tony Pena.

"This is not a fluke," said Dustin Hermanson, who pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to earn his fourth save. "We're not playing well for just the first month."

Garcia has played a significant role in the Sox's success despite sharing the third-best record on the pitching staff (3-1) with Orlando Hernandez. Garcia has pitched at least six innings in each of his six starts this season, and he's allowed two runs or fewer in all but one of them.

Garcia has surrendered only three home runs in 41 1/3 innings this season.

With the exception of an 8-2 victory over Kansas City, Garcia has battled for every advantage.

That included a no-decision at Oakland on April 27, when injuries to Uribe and backup infielder Pablo Ozuna left the Sox with an infield that featured Crede making his first start at short and catcher Chris Widger making his debut at third.

Those injuries also zapped the Sox's offense, as Garcia left after seven innings with a 1-1 tie.

With the exception of A.J. Pierzynski's passed ball in the seventh, Garcia had plenty of defensive help. Uribe started a double play in the second. In the fifth, with the Royals attempting a hit-and-run play, second baseman Tadahito Iguchi ran toward the bag to field David DeJesus' grounder and flip the ball to Uribe to start another double play.

Iguchi also made a backhanded stop to retire DeJesus in the ninth, and Uribe made a sliding catch of Ruben Gotay's soft pop in shallow left to end the game.

The Sox made the most of only six hits against Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez, who lost to Garcia in their last meeting at Kauffman Stadium.

Crede ended an 0-for-12 dry spell by hitting a leadoff home run in the third. The homer was Crede's first since April 20 at Detroit.The Sox regained the art of a two-out rally in the fourth to take a lead for the 27th consecutive game.

Aaron Rowand hit a single, stole second and scored the go-ahead run on Jermaine Dye's single off the left-field wall. Dye has back-to-back multiple-hit games for the first time this season.

"Sooner or later, the hits will start coming, and hopefully in bunches," Dye said after raising his batting average to .207.

Pierzynski made up for his passed ball by ripping a 1-1 pitch over the fence for a 4-1 lead.

Relievers Cliff Politte, Damaso Marte and Hermanson retired eight of the final nine batters.