ANAHEIM -- If hitting truly is contagious, as the White Sox have been preaching throughout the rough opening run to this 2011 campaign, then Ozzie Guillen's crew now might be on the verge of an epidemic.
An 11-hit attack on Monday at Angel Stadium included four players with multihit games and helped produce an 8-0 thrashing of the Angels (20-16) to open this three-game set.
And not only are good swings carrying throughout the lineup, but winning seems to have become contagious for the White Sox (14-22), as well.
It started this past weekend in Seattle, when the White Sox picked up their first series victory since taking three of four from the Rays on April 7-10 in Chicago. Then, this series-opening shutdown marked the White Sox first three-game winning streak during the entire 2011 season.
These three wins are one fewer than the total from their previous 22 games. As Mark Buehrle stated following Sunday's extra-inning victory, there was no way the White Sox would play so poorly throughout the course of the season.
Guillen took that concept one step further on Monday. The offense on display over the past few days is what the White Sox expected to regularly see when they went "all-in" this past offseason.
"That doesn't surprise me what we're doing now," Guillen said. "What surprised me is when we didn't. They can put it together and score a lot of runs."
"We knew we would hit at some point," second baseman Gordon Beckham said. "We started off really well, but maybe it was a false sense of security and we got complacent. But we're starting to hit the ball better now. It's three games, but it's a start and hopefully we can keep it going."
Here's even better news for the West Coast warriors, sitting at 3-1 in the midst of this nine-game road trip. Production is coming from up and down their once-again potent attack, with 19 runs scored on 40 hits over this three-game winning streak. The White Sox had scored only 16 runs in their previous six contests.
Beckham gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead in the second with a mammoth home run to left off of Ervin Santana (1-4), marking his third long ball of the year and his first since April 10. The White Sox added one run each in the third and the fifth on Carlos Quentin run-scoring doubles, giving the right fielder 15 doubles for the season, and Quentin completed the scoring with a three-run home run in the seventh.
Quentin now has 36 hits this season, of which 23 are for extra bases.
"Carlos had a good game," said Beckham, whose two hits raised his average to .231. "A lot of people had great, great at-bats all throughout the night."
"Santana has been tough against us a lot of times," Guillen said. "Today they make him throw the ball around the plate and we swing the bat pretty good."
The three-run home run from Quentin capped off a four-run seventh, started by Alexei Ramirez's fourth home run. Adam Dunn chipped in a double and a single, raising his average to .180. Small steps lead to longer runs, as the White Sox are learning.
"Those guys have a deep lineup when they are swinging well," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Some of those guys look like they are waking up."
To make this effort even more surprising, the White Sox outburst came in support of Edwin Jackson (3-4). The right-hander won for the first time since he struck out 13 Rays during the White Sox home opener on April 7. Jackson had not received a single run of support over his last four starts combined, so Monday's backing was a welcome sight.
"Definitely a great feeling when you look up and you have early run support," said Jackson, who allowed five hits and struck out five over seven innings, while walking just one. "You don't have to be as perfect and you can still attack hitters. When the offense is swinging like that, you just want to get them back in as quick as possible so they can continue to swing."
There was no talk coming from Jackson about feeling snake-bit this year. As Jackson pointed out, he permitted 13 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings during two of those starts combined. Guillen didn't sound a chord of sympathy for Jackson before the game, saying how pitchers have a job to do regardless of the offensive backup.
Meanwhile, the hitters didn't approach this game thinking, "We finally have to get runs for Edwin."
"You always want to get runs," Beckham said. "If we were to come into the clubhouse and say, 'Last game we didn't get Edwin any runs,' I think that puts more pressure on us."
"This is a great start to come in against a tough team like this and take Game 1 of this series," Jackson said. "We are trying to keep the ball rolling and keep it moving."
Neither Dan Haren nor Jered Weaver, the Angels; top two starters and two of the AL's best, will be able to stop the ball from rolling in this series -- they will not pitch. With White Sox starters having posted a 1.58 ERA over the last seven games, the hope is that the resurgent offense adds on to this winning upturn.
"We're starting to play better," Beckham said. "We're starting to play like we're capable."