Robin Ventura hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh inning as the White Sox beat the Indians 7-5 Thursday night.
The Indians, who swept three from the White Sox last weekend in Cleveland, still lead second-place Milwaukee by 5 1/2 games in the AL Central. Chicago trails Cleveland by 6 1/2 but is nine games back in the loss column.
"We're not supposed to catch them, so we'll just try to have fun," Ventura said. "We just have to keep going. It was nice to start with a win. ... The season isn't over yet."
Chicago slugger Frank Thomas said the White Sox know it will be hard to catch the Indians.
"They're a very strong team," he said. "We'll work toward winning, but 6 1/2 back with 16 games left is a little tough. But you never know."
With the game tied 4-4 and one out in the seventh, Thomas walked. Albert Belle _ hitless in his previous 13 at-bats against his former team _ then lined a double that finished Charles Nagy (14-10).
Alvin Morman relieved Nagy, and Ventura hit his first pitch for a two-run single to put the Sox ahead 6-4. After an intentional walk to Mike Cameron, Jorge Fabregas followed with a run-scoring single.
Jim Thome hit his 38th homer off Keith Foulke (2-0) in the eighth to make it 7-5. Foulke pitched two innings, allowing one run on three hits.
After Foulke allowed two one-out singles in the ninth, Matt Karchner got the final two outs for his 14th save.
"Everybody knows the situation. Tonight was one game and if we don't win tomorrow it means nothing," Karchner said.
Nagy gave up eight hits and six runs with five walks in 6 1/3 innings.
"He was just not sharp," Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said. "You want to give your top guns a chance to find themselves. Charlie was on the edge of finding himself but he just ran out of time. It was just not a good night."
Two-out doubles by Magglio Ordonez and Ozzie Guillen gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead in the sixth. But Pat Borders hit his fourth homer of the season to finish James Baldwin and tie the game in the seventh.
Brian Giles hit his 17th homer in the third and had a bases-loaded single in the fourth as the Indians took a 3-2 lead.
The White Sox tied it in the fourth when Fabregas doubled, Ordonez walked and Indians second baseman Bip Roberts threw wildly on a relay trying to turn a double play.
Chicago scored two in the third on Dave Martinez's RBI single and Belle's fielder's choice grounder.
Notes: Thome's homer in the eighth was Cleveland's 200th this season,
making the Indians the first AL team to have three straight seasons of
200 homers. ...The Indians purchased the contract of right-hander David
Weathers from Triple-A Buffalo and designated right-hander Steve
Montgomery for assignment. It is Weathers' second stint with the
Indians. He is 1-2 with a 7.08 ERA in 16 major league outings this
season after starting out the season with the Yankees. ... Indians
catcher Sandy Alomar has a sore left knee and did not start Thursday
night's game. ...Carlton Fisk, whose departure from the White Sox in
1993 was a bitter one, will be honored by the team prior to Sunday's
game.. ...Borders' homer was his first since May 31. ...The White Sox
are 59-0 when leading after eight innings.