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Sox win in start to key division stretch

CLEVELAND -- In a key six-game stretch that could make or break their season, the White Sox got off to the start they were looking for.

It might not have been the prettiest of victories but the White Sox will gladly take their 3-0 triumph Friday of the Cleveland Indians.

After these three with Cleveland, the White Sox will have three at home against the Detroit Tigers, in a run of games against the two teams ahead of them in the American League standings.

“It’s very important to stay with them, stay close to them and not create a very dangerous gap,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Hopefully we do that. Hopefully we are aware about our situation. I think hopefully we’re aware that those games will create a lot of things. We can stay on it or we can, I don’t want to say we’ll tear it apart, but get behind them too far and create a dangerous situation for us.”

The White Sox left 11 men on base Friday night and generally were going through the same issues with clutch hitting that plagued them all season. But Carlos Quentin hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning and Gavin Floyd made it stand up with 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

“I gave my team a chance to win today so that’s all I can ask for in myself,” Quentin said. “The story is that Gavin did unbelievable. We had some chances and didn’t get it done. It wasn’t for a lack of effort but it just didn’t get done early and he kept us right there 0-0 and [Floyd] was unbelievable tonight.”

Quentin called the Indians and Tigers formidable opponents, but the White Sox have a way of making every team they play formidable.

“It’s an important week for us,” Quentin said.

Adam Dunn had two hits. He also belted a fly ball to the warning track and looked good enough for Guillen to be comfortable starting him Saturday against Indians left-hander David Huff.

“We knew after we lost a couple at Kansas City we would be coming here and really put some pressure on not only the Indians but the Tigers as well,” Dunn said. “Hopefully we continue to play well, and win some games her, win the series and carry over.”

Good play over the next five days could save the White Sox team as it is currently constructed. One theory has the White Sox struggling so badly in these upcoming division games that it could start the ball rolling toward players like Edwin Jackson, Mark Teahen, Juan Pierre and even John Danks being traded.

If they stay at a comfortable gap behind the division leaders, the roster might make it through the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline with only minor adjustments.

“I’m not going to say this is the biggest game of the year right here because we have a few more against them, but this is a very important game,” Guillen said before the victory.

With five more games still remaining in this stretch they have done what they wanted so far.