White Sox take over 1st Place! Andruw Jones clubs 400th HR

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At the beginning of last month, NO ONE would have predicted this: the Chicago White Sox entering the 2010 All-Star break in FIRST PLACE in the AL Central.  They are 49-38, a half game up on the second place Detroit Tigers, and certifiably the hottest team in Major League Baseball. They beat the Royals 15-5 on Sunday, a game in which they clubbed 5 home runs, including a grand slam by Carlos Quentin, and the 400th career long ball for reserve outfielder Andruw Jones.

Like the rest of baseball they’ll have three days off now, but they enter the break on a tremendously hot stretch. After just sweeping division rival Kansas City, the Southsiders’ sizzling streak reads like this:

Eight straight wins, 21-4 in their last 25, 25-5 in their last 30, 14-1 in their last 13 at U.S. Cellular Field.

By Paul M. Banks

Jones is hitting just .210 on the season, but he has clubbed 12 home runs in just 184 at bats. I caught up to him on Friday night, when he had a couple hits, including what looked like the longest single in club history since…well, probably the Robin Ventura era. He drove in the first two runs of that ballgame with a drive that hit off the top of the fence.

“I knew my role when I came here and what I was supposed to do. So I just got to take advantage of it when the guys gave me a chance to go play,” Jones said.

Today, he clubbed his 400th career home run, a three-run jack in the third inning off Royals starter Anthony Lerew. Jones described what it took for his team to go from 9 games under .500, and 9.5 games out, to the penthouse of the AL Central.

“We know we what kind of talent we have in this clubhouse, we’ve known since spring training what we have and what we had to do. We didn’t have the start we wanted to, but it’s going our way right now,” Jones said.

Maybe the ace of the Sox pitching staff, Mark Buerhle, said it best:

“I think everybody knows the way we’re playing, everyone’s having fun. I don’t know how to explain how we’re doing so good, but whatever we’re doing- let’s keep on doing it.”

Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru

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