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White Sox' Swisher goes deep from both sides

A week ago, Nick Swisher was barely hitting .200, hitting coach Greg Walker was seemingly on the chopping block, and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was firing away at everyone.

A week ago, Nick Swisher was barely hitting .200, hitting coach Greg Walker was seemingly on the chopping block, and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was firing away at everyone.

How quickly things have changed.

The switch-hitting Swisher homered from both sides of the plate yesterday and the Chicago White Sox completed a dominant four-game sweep, beating the visiting Minnesota Twins, 7-5, for their seventh straight victory.

Paul Konerko hit a go-ahead home run and Chicago sent Minnesota to its fifth loss in a row. The White Sox outscored the Twins in the series, 40-15, which included this makeup game of an April rainout.

"I'm not surprised the way we hit them because we know we have a ballclub that can hit," Guillen said. "I'm surprised because we played against a pretty good ballclub and we did what we did. It's not easy to sweep anybody, especially in a four-game series."

The White Sox went 7-0 on their homestand and increased their AL Central lead to 6 1/2 games over Minnesota. They have hit 18 home runs during their winning streak and head to Detroit for a three-game series.

Chicago kicked things off last Tuesday against Kansas City after Guillen blew up in Tampa Bay, bemoaning his poor lineup with a few choice words. The hitters answered on the field.

Swisher hit a solo home run from the right side in the fourth inning against Glen Perkins. Swisher turned around and connected as a lefty for a two-run shot in the sixth against Jesse Crain.

Swisher has eight homers, but just one from the right side. He has homered from both sides six times in his career and is the seventh White Sox hitter to do it. He is hitting .387 (12-for-31) during an eight-game hitting streak, bumping his average up to .228.

The White Sox trailed 5-4 when Cabrera doubled against Matt Guerrier (3-2) to start a three-run rally in the seventh. Alexei Ramirez singled and Carlos Quentin tied it with an RBI grounder. Konerko followed with his eighth home run of the season.

Matt Thornton (2-1) pitched one scoreless inning to get the win in relief of John Danks.

In other games:

* At New York, Jose Guillen finished off his big series against the Yankees in style, hitting a tiebreaking solo home run off Mariano Rivera (2-2) in the ninth inning, lifting Kansas City to a 3-2 win.

* At Detroit, Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach both homered in the first two innings against Dontrelle Willis (0-1), helping Cleveland build an eight-run lead in an 8-2 victory over the Tigers. The Indians kept Cliff Lee (10-1) on the mound after a 57-minute rain delay in the fifth inning and he became the AL's first 10-game winner.

* At Toronto, Miguel Cairo's safety squeeze after Jason Frasor walked the bases loaded in the 10th inning lifted Seattle over the Blue Jays, 3-2.

* At Los Angeles, Evan Longoria hit two home runs and finished with four RBI, and Dioner Navarro went 4-for-5, including a home run and a two-run double to lead Tampa Bay over the Angels, 13-4.


* The slumping Seattle Mariners fired hitting coach Jeff Pentland and replaced him with special assistant Lee Elia.

Elia, the former Phillies manager who turns 71 next month, was Seattle's batting coach from 1993-97 and is perhaps best known for a tirade he unleashed in 1983 as manager of the Chicago Cubs. *