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08/14/08 8:07 PM ET

Right down Broadway

Record homers help rookie earn win heading to Minors

CHICAGO -- There wasn't much time for Lance Broadway to celebrate his second Major League victory Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.

Shortly after allowing two runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings during the White Sox 9-2 drubbing of the Royals, the right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. With no days off coming in the next week, the South Siders still need a fifth starter for at least one more time through the rotation.

But manager Ozzie Guillen expressed greater concern for the chance that his bullpen could get overworked, with Broadway being unavailable for a usual starter's period of four days. Guillen's primary focus falls on protecting his three key late-inning arms.

"I'm not going to go to Oakland with only five guys in the bullpen," said Guillen, trying to make his point during the postgame press conference. "[Octavio] Dotel, Bobby [Jenks] and [Matt] Thornton are three.

"That leaves me [D.J.] Carrasco, [Adam] Russell, [Horacio] Ramirez ... The three guys important to me are Thornton, Dotel and Bobby Jenks. That doesn't mean the other guys aren't important, but those are the three guys I have to keep healthy the most, because they're going to be in tough situations.

"We have to be really careful about what move we're going to make," Guillen added. "Not having [Scott] Linebrink in the bullpen ... I know it would be a tough time losing one of those three guys."

If Broadway finds himself pitching for Charlotte until rosters expand in September, he certainly exited on a high note. Four of the first five hitters for Kansas City (54-67) reached base safely on Thursday, but Broadway limited the Royals to only two runs.

Broadway (1-0) held the Royals to three hits over the next 4 1/3 innings, exiting after fanning Billy Butler to start the sixth for his only strikeout of the game. Broadway recorded eight outs via the ground ball.

"Hopefully, they'll have the confidence that, if they need someone, they'll know I'm going to give it my best and have confidence out there on the mound," said Broadway, who threw 62 of his 100 pitches for strikes and walked just two. "I proved that I can do what I can do and handle that and just let the defense work for me."

"He did a good job -- a tremendous job, better than we expected," added Guillen of Broadway. "He threw strikes. He came up big in tough situations. He ate up innings. He got the win. What could be better than that? I think this game was big and he stepped it up and did his job."

When general manager Ken Williams talked earlier in the week about possible fifth-starter replacements for Thursday, he didn't have a hint of worry in his voice. It wasn't that Williams was brimming with confidence concerning the options, but he described a scenario in which the selected starter would pitch aggressively in the strike zone for five or six innings and receive help from the bullpen and the White Sox potent offense.

Williams' prediction landed right on the money. Ramirez, Carrasco and Russell combined for 3 2/3 innings of one-hit relief, with Russell fanning four. As for the offense, the White Sox pushed across three runs in five innings against Kansas City starter Kyle Davies (5-4).

Then, they absolutely erupted in the sixth.

Jim Thome, Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off reliever Joel Peralta, and Juan Uribe went deep off of Robinson Tejeda to mark the first time in franchise history the White Sox hit four straight home runs. This outburst also stood as the eighth time this season the White Sox have hit back-to-back home runs, but Guillen liked the timing of the quartet of long balls, opening up a close game.

"Good thing we scored those runs in that inning because I didn't want to overuse Dotel and Bobby," said Guillen, whose team now has hit a Major League-best 172 home runs. "Every time they're at the plate, they're in scoring position. We have a lot of guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark."

"Nobody was thinking about any of them," added Konerko, who also set a personal single-season high with his second stolen base, coming in the fifth. "It just kind of happened before we knew it. It was out of nowhere. It was actually a lot better game the whole way than the score indicated."

Thursday's victory completed a three-game manhandling of the Royals, who were outscored 22-2 in total. It also moved the White Sox (68-52) one full game ahead of the idle Twins in the American League Central, with 42 games remaining on the schedule.

By Friday evening in Oakland, the White Sox will have a new pitcher to aid in their postseason push. It could be reliever Jon Link, who has a 1.99 ERA and 31 saves for Double-A Birmingham, or it could be Clayton Richard, who would work in an emergency out of the bullpen and possibly start on Tuesday.

The only certainty is it won't be Broadway, who made a positive impression before his departure.

"They need some bullpen help," Broadway said. "It's fine with me, whatever they need. It's better than going back with a loss. I got up here, got a win, things are pretty good."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.