CHICAGO – Jon Garland got his ninth win on his third try, and Paul Konerko and Joe Crede homered to help the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 6-5.

After starting 8-0, Garland lost two straight, but Saturday’s effort made him the third nine-game winner in the majors, joining Toronto’s Roy Halladay and Florida’s Dontrelle Willis.

Garland (9-2) went 6 2-3 innings and allowed nine hits and four runs, including Victor Martinez’s solo homer that cut Chicago’s lead to 4-3 in the sixth.

Dustin Hermanson got three outs for his 13th save in 13 chances. He gave up a two-out triple to Grady Sizemore that left fielder Scott Podsednik appeared to lose in the lights, and an RBI double to Coco Crisp that cut it to 6-5. But Hermanson got Travis Hafner on a groundout to end it.

Konerko hit his 14th homer in the fifth and Crede – in a 6-for-62 slump – added his seventh, a two-run shot in the sixth off reliever Matt Miller to make it 6-3.

Garland recovered from a shaky first inning in which he gave up three singles and a sacrifice fly to Martinez that staked Jason Davis to a 1-0 lead.

But Chicago responded in the bottom half when Davis, just called up from the minors to make the start, threw 38 pitches. The White Sox took a 2-1 lead on singles by Tadahito Iguchi and Frank Thomas before Aaron Rowand hit a two-out, two-run double – a drive to right-center that went off Jody Gerut’s glove.

Juan Uribe’s double and Podsednik’s sacrifice fly made it 3-1 in the second. Jhonny Peralta, Aaron Boone and Sizemore had consecutive singles for the Indians to make it 3-2 with none out in the fifth. But Garland struck out Crisp and got Hafner on a double-play grounder to avoid a big inning.

Davis (2-2) threw 106 pitches in 4 2-3 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. Garland also threw 106 and was lifted one batter after Sizemore doubled in the seventh. Hafner greeted Damaso Marte with an RBI single to cut the lead to 6-4.

Notes: Thomas had a first-inning single, his first hit since June 30, 2004. He missed the final three months last season and the first two this year after breaking a bone in his left ankle, requiring needed surgery. In his first game back last Monday, Thomas hurt his hip. He said before the game he needs to play and needs his at-bats and didn’t sound pleased with the possibility of being a platoon DH with Carl Everett. “Just put me in and let me just do my thing,” Thomas said. He got a standing ovation before his first at-bat and finished 1-for-4. … Boone snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a second-inning single, then got a hit in his next at-bat as well. … The start was delayed 15 minutes by rain. White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle and bullpen catcher Man Soo Lee entertained the crowd by doing belly-flop slides on the rain-soaked tarp.

AP-ES-06-04-05 1923EDT

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