CHICAGO -- Despite struggling at home for much of the early part of the 2011 season, the White Sox offense broke out Thursday night and ultimately found itself in unfamiliar territory with a three-game home winning streak.
Unfortunately for Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona, he was in quite a familiar position as he was shelled by the White Sox for the second time this season during Chicago's 8-2 win.
The eight runs scored in front of the 22,077 fans at U.S. Cellular Field were the most scored at home by the White Sox this season, and the second-most allowed by Carmona -- behind only the 10 he gave up in three-plus innings against the White Sox in Cleveland on Opening Day.
Despite sitting eight games back of the first-place Indians (26-15) in the American League Central after winning the two-game series, Chicago has now taken four out of five from Cleveland this season and 10 of the last 12 dating back to last year.
"Like I always say, to be up where you want to be, you have to beat the good teams," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "Cleveland has been playing very well, and the key in any division is to beat the guys in your own division."
Cleveland got on the board in the top of the first on a Carlos Santana sacrifice fly. But after a leadoff double from Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez reached after apparently being hit by a Carmona pitch, a Paul Konerko two-run double in the bottom half of the inning gave the White Sox the lead for good. Ramirez looked to be hit on the right hand while attempting to bunt, and rolled on the ground in pain before electing to stay in the game after being checked out by Guillen and White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider.
Ramirez, who after the game said he was fine and would be "like new" on Friday, roped a two-run double in his next at-bat as part of a four-run second inning. That rally also included Adam Dunn's two-run single.
The White Sox battered Carmona for eight runs over five innings and have now tallied 18 runs in eight innings against the right-hander in 2011. Carmona has allowed just 16 runs in 56 1/3 innings against the rest of the AL.
"They're killing me this year, but I'll continue to pitch," said Carmona of his struggles against the White Sox, after winning seven straight against the South Siders prior to this season. "Before, I was pitching good against that team. This year, I don't know what's happened. I'll be ready for next time."
Gavin Floyd (5-3), on the other hand, turned out Chicago's second dominant pitching performance in as many nights. Floyd followed up Jake Peavy's three-hit shutout by allowing one run on five hits over seven innings.
"Gavin threw the ball very well, just threw strikes," Guillen said. "He was ahead in the count and his breaking ball was working. When you throw strikes, I always say, it's pitching's best friend -- strikes."
Floyd credited Peavy's outing from the previous night for giving the pitching staff momentum. As a whole, the staff has allowed only two runs over the last 23 1/3 innings, and a Matt LaPorta home run off Tony Pena in the top of the ninth marked the first earned run allowed by the White Sox bullpen in a 28 2/3-inning span.
"We feed off each other a little bit," said Floyd, who struck out three and walked one. "You definitely want to throw a little bit close to what [Peavy] did yesterday, so he pitched really well and I was just hoping to do the same."
Although the Indians entered the series with the highest-scoring offense in baseball and having scored 31 runs over their previous three games, they were held to only two runs in the two-game set. The team was playing without Grady Sizemore (knee), Travis Hafner (ribs), Orlando Cabrera (off- day) and last-minute scratch Travis Buck (toe), but manager Manny Acta credited the depth of the White Sox rotation for stifling the Indians' bats.
"These guys, over the last two years that I've been here -- at least on paper -- they have the deepest rotation in our division," Acta said. "They do have some good pitching and they pitched well. Injuries are a part of the game. Every team in Major League Baseball has to deal with it, and we're not going to make excuses. They pitched well and that's it."
The White Sox have matched their season-high winning streak by winning three in a row and have won nine of their last 12. Their 20-25 record entering Interleague Play puts them one game better than the 19-26 pace through 45 games last season.
Guillen's crew posted a Major-league best 15-3 Interleague record last season in the midst of a 28-8 run that turned a 9 1/2-game division deficit into a 3 1/2-game lead atop the AL Central.
With the way the team has been playing lately, Floyd and Dunn view Interleague Play as a prime opportunity to make a run similar to last season's.
"It is early. I think we have a great team, a great all-around baseball team and I think we can do it," said Floyd. "We've done it last year, to come back and get in the hunt again, so I have no doubt we can do that."
"If we can battle like we did tonight against Carmona every single night," Dunn said, "we'll put ourselves in a pretty good position in the end."
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.