The All-Star break has arrived, and so have the Chicago White Sox.
That was the theme Sunday as the South Siders continued their surge in the American League Central, blasting the Royals with five home runs en route to a 15-5 victory. They've won eight games in a row, they took control of first place in their division, and their slugging outfielder, Carlos Quentin, is one of the hottest hitters in baseball, with two more long balls against Kansas City.
But there are other teams and players on the rise as the scene shifts to Angel Stadium in Anaheim for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic, and those clubs showed their stuff Sunday, too.
Remember Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana? He shut out the Braves over seven innings on Sunday as the Mets won, 3-0. The left-hander finished off the first half of his 2010 season with 16 consecutive scoreless innings, and his team reaches the season's midway point comfortably in contention in the National League East.
The Yankees overcame the sadness brought on by the death of their legendary former public address announcer, Bob Sheppard, to build on their best record in baseball behind CC Sabathia in a rout of the Mariners in Seattle.
The Colorado Rockies made a run this week to get to within a game of the Padres in the NL West, but San Diego prevailed Sunday, 9-7, at Coors Field and stretched that lead back to two.
Meanwhile, Twins right-hander Carl Pavano concluded his stellar first half, besting the Tigers, 6-3, in a key AL Central showdown to improve to 5-0 in his last seven starts.
And if that wasn't enough, the Sunday slate had some final at-bat drama, with Corey Hart homering to beat the Pirates and allow his Brewers to cruise into the break with Major League momentum for the second half.
White Sox 15, Royals 5
The White Sox continued their remarkable run, homering five times during a win over the Royals and moving into first place in the AL Central with their eighth win in a row. Carlos Quentin blasted two home runs. Wrap >
Yankees 8, Mariners 2
Mark Teixeira had four hits and Derek Jeter and Marcus Thames each knocked in a pair to give CC Sabathia more than enough support to pick up his eighth straight win in the first-half finale with the Mariners. Wrap >
Brewers 6, Pirates 5
Corey Hart, an All-Star starter who will take part in Monday's Home Run Derby, hit a walk-off homer to erase a one-run deficit in the ninth and complete the Brewers' sweep. Pedro Alvarez homered for Pittsburgh. Wrap >
Mets 3, Braves 0
Johan Santana finished his first half with 16 straight scoreless frames after baffling the Braves over seven. With the help of Ike Davis' 11th homer, the Mets had a healthy cushion to declare victory over their rival. Wrap >
Rays 6, Indians 5
Jason Bartlett singled in Carl Crawford, who cranked his third homer of the series, in the 10th inning to give the Rays a walk-off win over the Indians. Austin Kearns had two RBIs and scored a run for Cleveland. Wrap >
Padres 9, Rockies 7
Chase Headley had a big two-run double and a two-run error helped pave the way as San Diego scored six runs over the final three innings to stretch its lead to two games over Colorado in the NL West. Wrap >
Dodgers 7, Cubs 0
Vicente Padilla tossed eight shutout innings, keeping the Cubs hitless for the first five, and James Loney hit a three-run homer as the Dodgers bullied their way into a second-place tie in the NL West standings. Wrap >
Cardinals 4, Astros 2
The Astros struck quickly with two runs in the first inning and Wandy Rodriguez retired his first nine batters, but Matt Holliday belted a three-run homer in the fourth and the Cardinals never looked back in the finale victory. Wrap >
Phillies 1, Reds 0
One day after Travis Wood and Roy Halladay battled, Cole Hamels got the better end of a duel with Matt Maloney, working 7 2/3 shutout frames to give the Phillies the sweep. Jimmy Rollins singled in the only run. Wrap >
Twins 6, Tigers 3
Carl Pavano retired the first 13 Detroit batters before Brennan Boesch's infield single. The right-hander allowed three runs on six hits over 7 2/3 innings and improved to 5-0 in his last seven starts. Wrap >
Marlins 2, D-backs 0
For the fourth time in team history, six Marlins pitchers combined on a shutout, as five relievers allowed just four baserunners in 5 2/3 innings. RBIs by Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla were enough to sink the D-backs. Wrap >
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2
Held hitless into the sixth by Jesse Litsch, the Red Sox got back-to-back homers from Darnell McDonald and David Ortiz, then held off the Blue Jays to close out the first half with a series victory at Rogers Centre. Wrap >
Orioles 4, Rangers 1
Julio Lugo and Corey Patterson keyed the O's three-run second inning with run-scoring doubles and Jake Arrieta pitched 6 1/3 solid innings to lift Baltimore to a four-game sweep of the Rangers going into the break. Wrap >
Athletics 5, Angels 2
Jered Weaver replaced Trevor Cahill on the All-Star roster and then the A's starter handed his counterpart the loss with a sparkling seven-inning performance against the Angels at the Oakland Coliseum. Wrap >
Giants 6, Nationals 2
The Giants capped their road trip and the first half with a victory over the Nationals, led by a combined five RBIs from Buster Posey and Travis Ishikawa and Madison Bumgarner's strong six-plus innings. Wrap >
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.