Garland relies on sinker to move to 8-0

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jon Garland's winning streak was in jeopardy.

He walked his first batter in the sixth inning, hit the next and gave up a run-scoring double.

With Garland clinging to a one-run lead and the heart of the Texas Rangers order at bat, catcher A.J. Pierzynski went to the mound.

"I can't really say exactly what he said, but he told me I was being lazy," Garland said. "He said my arm was dragging through the zone and told me to pick it up. From that point on, I started throwing the ball the way I had been for the first five innings."

Garland got three straight outs to get out of the inning and went on to become the first eight-game winner in the major leagues, leading the Chicago White Sox over the Rangers 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Garland (8-0), the first White Sox pitcher to win his first eight starts since John Whitehead in 1935, gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking two. Relying on his sinker, he got Texas to hit into a pair of double plays.

Pretty good for a guy who began the season as his team's No. 5 starter.

"It just feels nice to go out and give my team quality starts and a chance to win," said Garland, who has won 10 straight starts dating to last season. "That's what I've said from the very beginning. If I can keep these guys in the game, we'll find ways to score runs."

Dustin Hermanson walked two in the ninth but remained perfect in nine save chances. He hasn't given up a run in 19 1/3 innings this year, a record for a White Sox pitcher at the start of a season.

"He's a warrior, no matter where you put him," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He'll give you everything he has. As long as this kid's healthy, he's going to do good."

Chicago, which stopped a three-game losing streak, led 3-2 in the sixth before Pierzynski homered for the fourth time in five games, a two-run drive off Pedro Astacio (1-5) to give the team some breathing room.

"It feels nice," said Pierzynski, who has homered in three straight games. "I don't hit a lot of home runs, so when I hit them, it's a pretty good feeling. I keep joking I keep hitting them in the same spot."

Astacio (1-5) gave up all five runs and eight hits in six innings.

Garland walked David Dellucci starting the sixth and hit Michael Young. Mark Teixeira then hit an RBI double to left, scoring Dellucci. Garland then struck out Hank Blalock and Alfonso Soriano and retired Kevin Mench on a flyout.

"I was just trying to get them out," Garland said. "I'm not a strikeout guy, so I didn't think I needed to strike them out. I really wanted a lazy fly ball they couldn't tag on or a ground ball."

Rangers manager Buck Showalter thought that inning "changed the complexion of the game."

Taking advantage of their old catcher, Sandy Alomar Jr., Chicago went ahead 2-0 in the first inning.

Scott Podsednik led off with a single, stole his major league-leading 24th base, was sacrificed to third and scored on Aaron Rowand's double off the right-field wall. Rowand stole third, sliding headfirst to elude Blalock's tag, and came home on Paul Konerko's groundout.

Texas, which stranded two runners in the first, got a run in the fifth when Laynce Nix tripled off the center field wall and scored on Richard Hidalgo's single. Garland got out of the inning thanks to a nifty 4-6-3 double play started by Tadahito Iguchi.

"He's the hottest pitcher in baseball, him and Dontrelle Willis," Alomar said. "He's tough. He's got late movement on the ball. The ball's dying at the end, and he's going with different locations."

Mench threw out Juan Uribe at second base in the fifth trying to stretch a single to left but couldn't chase down Podsednik's double down the left field line. Iguchi then singled to left, and Blalock cut off Mench's throw home as Podsednik scored for a 3-1 lead.

Game notes
Frank Thomas went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and two runs in the first game of his minor-league rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte. ... Right-hander Carlos Almanzar is to undergo elbow ligament replacement surgery on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas, Showalter said. Almanzar went on the disabled list on May 1 with right elbow inflammation. ... The Rangers didn't release their lineup until a half-hour before the game -- they were unsure whether Young would play after missing Monday's game with a stiff back. He hit second and went 0-for-3. ... Blalock singled in
the first and then struck out swinging three straight times, twice with men in scoring position. ... Third base coach Steve Smith was thrown out after the first inning for arguing over Rowand's steal at third. ... Rowand matched a career high with his 11-game hitting streak.