The sight of Detroit starting pitcher Sean Douglass departing the mound after six innings Monday night looked more attractive to the White Sox than the return of former slugger Magglio Ordonez did to a crowd of 37,556 at U.S. Cellular Field.
In its latest chapter of a stunningly successful season, the Sox erupted for five runs on three home runs in the seventh inning for a 7-5 victory over Detroit that extended their winning streak to five games and their lead in the American League Central to 13 games over Minnesota.
"This is a great win," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I don't know how to describe this."
The furious rally allowed the Sox (62-29) to increase their winning streak over AL Central opponents to 11 games. They improved to 31-5 within the division and have won eight of nine games over the Tigers.
They are 33 games above the .500 mark for the first time since they ended the 1983 season with a 99-63 mark.
Their rally clearly overshadowed the return of Ordonez, who went 2-for-3 with a walk.
The last time the Sox hit three home runs in an inning occurred June 15. That came in the midst of a 10-run rally that saw them vault to a 12-6 victory over Arizona and avoid a three-game home sweep.
The Sox finished with four home runs, as Frank Thomas capped the comeback with a solo shot in the eighth, his 12th in 97 at-bats that snapped a 1-for-14 slump.
But for six innings, the Sox were harnessed by Douglass, who limited them to three hits but was pulled after 103 pitches.
Paul Konerko led off the surge when he hit reliever Chris Spurling's first pitch barely over the left-field fence.
Joe Crede, who doubled and scored the Sox's first run in the third, launched a three-run home run that traveled an estimated 423 feet and gave the Sox their first lead at 5-4.
"I want to be the guy in that situation," Crede said.
Crede has played with a sore lower back but has maintained his solid defense. He hasn't made an error since May 15 and made a leaping catch at third to rob Pudge Rodriguez of a hit in the second.
"This kid is sturdy," Guillen said.
Crede's homer came after third base coach Joey Cora wisely held Jermaine Dye at third on A.J. Pierzynski's single to right field.
Crede's home run also allowed Guillen to change his mind and allow struggling Juan Uribe to bat after putting Carl Everett in the on-deck circle as Crede was at the plate.
The move paid off when Uribe snapped an 0-for-23 slump by ripping a homer to left.
Konerko and Uribe also hit home runs in the 10-run rally against Arizona.
The three home runs in an inning were one shy of the franchise record, accomplished twice.
The rally took Orlando Hernandez off the hook. Hernandez, making his first start since June 14 after suffering right shoulder tightness, allowed four runs in six innings.
"He threw the ball better than we thought," Guillen said.
But a bigger concern is closer Dustin Hermanson, whom Guillen revealed is out indefinitely because of lower back pain.
"If he's not ready, maybe somebody else is," Guillen said. "I can't wait that long."
Hermanson was nagged by back pain in April.
Cliff Politte took over the closer duties and allowed a homer to Rodriguez in the ninth, but he earned his first save since June 8, 2004 at Philadelphia.
Rodriguez's homer snapped Politte's scoreless streak of 20 games covering 19 2/3 innings.
White Sox 7, Tigers 5