Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford homered for the Tampa Bay Rays, helping righthander Jeff Niemann remain unbeaten with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Chicago White Sox last night.
Niemann (5-0) limited the White Sox to singles by Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham before giving up a solo homer to Mark Teahen, leading off the eighth inning. He walked three and struck out five before Randy Choate and Dan Wheeler finished the four-hitter with a scoreless ninth.
Crawford hit a solo homer in the first and also drove in a run off Gavin Floyd (2-5) with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly. Longoria's solo shot off the Chicago starter put Tampa Bay ahead 3-0 in the sixth.
The Rays snapped a three-game losing streak, improving baseball's best record to 33-15.
They only managed four hits off Floyd over seven innings. But it didn't matter with the White Sox sputtering offensively in their first game since manager Ozzie Guillen's expletive-filled postgame rant about umpire Joe West in Cleveland.
Guillen and lefty Mark Buehrle were ejected by West for protesting a pair of balks during a victory over the Indians on Wednesday.
The manager said before yesterday's game that he spoke his mind about West's handling of the ejections but did not feel he did anything to warrant harsh disciplinary action.
"I say what I feel. I don't think I say anything to disrepect anybody or the game. If Major League Baseball will do something, they know where to find me," Guillen said.
"I don't think it should be anything to make a big deal about it," he added. "We'll wait and see."
Guillen said there were no hard feelings.
"I think Joe is one of the best umpires in the game, there's no doubt. I'm the type of guy, no matter what happened yesterday, to me it's another day," the manager said. "I'm not going to hold any grudges against him."
A close call that went against the White Sox in the fifth inning brought Guillen out of the dugout again yesterday.
This time, he mildly protested to umpire Eric Cooper that Teahen, the third baseman, had put a good tag on Rays runner Sean Rodriguez, who advanced on a pop fly that was caught in foul territory.
Rodriguez scored, making it 2-0, on Crawford's sacrifice fly. Longoria's 10th homer gave Niemann a three-run lead, and Hank Blalock's two-run single off Scott Linebrink made it 5-1 in the eighth.
Guillen will miss tonight's game to attend his son's high school graduation in Miami. Ozney Guillen has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at South Florida.
In other games:
* At Baltimore, Kevin Kouzmanoff doubled in three runs to cap a five-run eighth inning, and the Oakland Athletics rallied to beat the Orioles, 7-5, for their second road series win.
_ At Boston, Brian Bannister pitched six strong innings and David DeJesus drove in a pair of runs for Kansas City, lifting the Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox.
Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury still has soreness in his left side and was out of the lineup.
* At Minneapolis, Jason Kubel ended Minnesota's long power drought in a big way, belting two home runs and driving in five runs in the Twins' 8-2 victory over the New York Yankees.
* Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz will work out today before the team determines if his latest hamstring injury might require him to go on the disabled list again.
An MRI yesterday determined Cruz has a strained left hamstring, apparently sustained this week during a game at Kansas City. The Rangers were off yesterday before a weekend series at Minnesota.