CLEVELAND -- For one brief moment during his team's 4-2 victory over the Indians on Sunday at Progressive Field, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had World Series thoughts running through his mind.
Actually, Guillen was thinking about one major break helping his team on the road to the 2005 championship. It came on Sept. 25, with the Indians having closed to within 1 1/2 games of the White Sox and trying to keep pace in Kansas City.
The Indians' hopes were squelched some six years ago when Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore lost Paul Phillips' long fly ball in the sun and allowed Angel Berroa to come home with the winning run. The White Sox never looked back in the American League Central, clinching the division title four days later.
On Sunday, it was Cleveland center fielder Ezequiel Carrera losing Adam Dunn's deep fly ball with two outs in the sixth, with sunglasses perched atop his hat, allowing Omar Vizquel and Paul Konerko to score the go-ahead runs. The play caused Guillen to turn to bench coach Joey Cora and briefly reminisce about that Sizemore moment from 2005.
But Guillen and the rest of the White Sox (49-51) hope this break is what they need to get closer to the top of the division.
"I don't think we have had many breaks like that," said Dunn, who thought he hit the deciding fly ball better than he did. "I can't think of one time this year when we had something like that go our way. We've had it go against us quite a bit. Hope that's a good sign for all of us."
"We'll take runs any way we can get them," said a smiling White Sox closer Sergio Santos, who recorded the game's final two outs.
Cleveland's generosity didn't end with Carrera's error, a play in which he stumbled twice going back and never lowered his sunglasses. In the seventh, Alex Rios reached on Asdrubal Cabrera's one-out fielding error, moved to second on his eighth stolen base and then picked up and went to third on catcher Carlos Santana's wild throw. Mark Teahen singled home Rios with an important insurance run and a 4-2 lead.
Three of the four runs scored by the White Sox off Indians righty Justin Masterson (8-7) were unearned, as Guillen's crew crept back within two games of .500. The White Sox scored in the first on Juan Pierre's double, Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice bunt and Konerko's groundout, before capitalizing on the sixth-inning situation, when Konerko was walked intentionally to leave the frame's success up to Dunn and his .160 average.
"The ball is bouncing our way," Guillen said. "Hopefully every time somebody makes a mistake, we take advantage of that."
"When you're not scoring enough runs, you can't be giving outs away," Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Edwin Jackson (7-7) saw his scoreless-innings streak end at 14 when Carrera singled home Travis Buck in the fifth. Otherwise, the right-hander was once again solid.
Jackson allowed two runs on five hits over six innings, striking out three and walking three. In starts against the Tigers and Indians since the All-Star break, Jackson has given up two runs in 15 innings pitched.
"He threw the ball very well the last couple of outings," said Guillen of Jackson, who gave way to Jesse Crain after 106 pitches thrown in the Cleveland heat. "If we continue to pitch like that and play the way we did the last couple of days, we'll be fine. Hopefully we can keep our game up at the same level and make it easier for everyone."
"Second half is pretty much where everything counts," Jackson said. "The second half is taking you right into the playoffs, if you have a chance to make the playoffs. It's definitely the time where you want to be on top of your game."
Chris Sale struck out three of the four hitters he retired when taking over for Crain, before Santos entered in the ninth. Santos walked Santana, but retired Orlando Cabrera on a fly ball to center and left it up to the ageless Vizquel for the game's last out. Vizquel took a run-scoring single away from Lonnie Chisenhall by diving onto the outfield grass between first and second and throwing out the rookie at first.
Vizquel got a celebratory lift from Brent Morel after the victory, just like the lift Vizquel provided in Santos' 20th save.
"I'll tell you what, as soon as he hit that, I thought Konerko was going to get it as a ground ball right to first," Santos said. "But he was playing no doubles up the line. And then it was Omar just doing what Omar does and has been doing."
Masterson was as sharp as Jackson, yielding four hits over seven innings, fanning six and walking one. But the unearned runs pushed the White Sox to 6-1 this season against the Indians (51-48), 4-1 at Progressive Field and just 2 1/2 games out of second place.
With first-place Detroit coming to town for three games starting Monday, the White Sox hope to build off this rain-abbreviated two-game Cleveland sweep and their second-half-opening 5-3 road trip. An extended winning streak quite possibly could trigger a few more World Series memories for Guillen.
"I don't know why I got a flashback from that one," said Guillen. "I [turned to Cora] and I said, 'Watch out.'"
"You just have to take it as we haven't played that great and we are still in it," Santos said. "Let's start playing better and see where it takes us."