Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was stunned when he saw the American League Central standings.
Carlos Quentin hit a grand slam and a solo homer, and the Chicago White Sox surged into first place in the AL Central with a 15-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
Andruw Jones hit his 400th career homer during a seven-run, four homer third inning for Chicago, which moved atop the division after trailing the Twins by 91⁄2 games on June 8.
“A shock. To be honest with you, I think it is a shock just because the way the team was playing, all the negative stuff outside the clubhouse. How many games we got to put up to be over .500. How many games we were out of first place. It’s a shock how quick we did it,” Guillen said. “I know we are going to compete this year and hopefully we stay the same way we are right now. We put ourselves in a pretty nice spot and see what happens the rest of the summer.”
The White Sox overcame a first half of reported disputes between Guillen and general manager Ken Williams, an inept offense and a struggling rotation for the first two months of the season.
During the seven-game homestand, Quentin was 7-for-13 with six home runs and 11 RBIs. Quentin, who had two home runs in the win on Saturday, had three multihomer games during the homestand. He missed three games because a sore left knee.
“Sometimes you hit the ball, it goes out of the yard. Sometimes someone catches the ball. Baseball is a very fragile game, it changes in a second and it’s always to be respected,” Quentin said. “I’m fortunate to get some good pitches to hit and take some good swings and help the team win. I stay with an approach every time and trust it and good things have happened.”
Alex Rios and Dayan Viciedo also homered for the White Sox (49-38), who have won eight straight and 25 of 30. Chicago moved a half-game ahead of Detroit for first.
On June 9, Williams vowed to make changes.
A.J. Pierzynski also didn’t believe getting to the top of the division by the end of the first half was possible.
“No. We said if we could just get close by the end of June, have it down to five or six games, then we’d have a chance,” Pierzynski said. “To be in the position we’re in is pretty unbelievable.”
After a four-game sweep over the Los Angeles Angels, the White Sox capped the homestand off with a three-game sweep of the Royals.
Royals starter Anthony Lerew got two outs in the third inning then was tagged for four home runs. After missing on two big swings, Rios connected for his 15th homer on an 0-2 pitch. Then Quentin followed on a 3-1 pitch to give the White Sox a 4-1 lead. Mark Kotsay continued the third inning with a single and Pierzynski walked, then Jones hit his milestone home run into the left-field bullpen. Viciedo chased Lerew with a longball deep to left.
The four home runs in the inning tied a franchise record for the sixth time. The White Sox last hit four home runs in an inning Aug. 14, 2008, against the Royals.
“I’m surprised they had enough fireworks left,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s just one of those days. We left some balls up and they hammered them.”
In the sixth inning, Quentin tagged reliever Victor Marte for a grand slam. It was his 19th homer of the season. Quentin received a curtain call from the 29,040 fans.
Lerew started in place of Zack Greinke, who was scratched from the start for precautionary reasons because of a sore right shoulder. Greinke is expected to start the first game back from the All-Star break on July 16 against Oakland.
Lerew (1-3) allowed eight runs on nine hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Jones passed Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga for 46th place on the all-time home run list.
Before the game, Chicago called up right-hander Daniel Hudson from Triple-A Charlotte to start in place of Jake Peavy, who is scheduled for season-ending surgery on Wednesday.
Hudson didn’t last long enough to earn the victory.
He gave up a two-run homer to Jose Guillen in the fourth inning. In the fifth, he allowed two runs on three hits, including an RBI single to Scott Podsednik that ended his day.
Hudson allowed five runs on six hits in four-plus innings.
Tony Pena (3-1) pitched three-hit ball for three innings.
Jose Guillen homered for the Royals, who have been swept three times on the season.
NOTES: White Sox 1B Paul Konerko had the day off. ... The Royals allowed a season high for runs and hits (18). ... The White Sox are a season-high 11 games over .500 and are a major league best 20-9 in day games.