CHICAGO — Carlos Quentin homered twice off Tim Hudson, and Mark Buehrle pitched out of numerous jams Wednesday night as the Chicago White Sox extended their winning streak to eight games with a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
The White Sox have won 12 of 13 to move within 31/2 games of AL Central-leading Minnesota. Just two weeks ago, they were 91/2 games back.
Chicago (36-34) is two games over .500 for the first time since last August. The Sox are 12-2 in interleague play this season, 36-14 the last three years.
The Braves entered the week as baseball's hottest team, with a 34-14 record since April 30, but consecutive defeats at U.S. Cellular Field guaranteed a losing series for the first time in their last 14.
Despite allowing nine hits in six innings, Buehrle earned his major league-record 23rd interleague victory. Buehrle (6-6) is 9-0 with a 1.73 ERA in his last 12 starts against NL teams.
The longtime Chicago ace had a 5.40 ERA after getting shelled by Cleveland on June 6, but has allowed only four runs in winning his last three starts.
Hudson (7-3) outpitched Buehrle most of the night, allowing six hits in seven innings, but still surrendered more than three earned runs for the first time all season.
He retired the first 10 batters before walking Omar Vizquel, who advanced on a groundout and scored on Paul Konerko's single to make it 1-1. Two pitches later, Quentin hit a ball that barely cleared right fielder Jason Heyward's glove, struck the top of the wall and bounced into the bullpen.
After David Ross' fifth-inning single cut Chicago's lead to 3-2 and put runners on the corners, Buehrle struck out Martin Prado and Heyward. The Braves loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but Buehrle retired Melky Cabrera and Omar Infante on popups.
Quentin led off the seventh with another homer, his 11th this season and third in two nights. Batting .200 just last week, he is on an 11-for-25 tear.
J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton each pitched one hitless inning bmfore Bobby Jenks worked the ninth for his 16th save in 17 attempts.
Jenks, who has converted 11 straight opportunities and has a 0.82 ERA in his last 12 appearances, moved past Roberto Hernandez into second place on Chicago's career saves list with 162.
NOTES: Rios was ejected in the eighth inning by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher after arguing a called third strike. ... Vizquel got his 2,732nd hit, tying Tony Perez for 53rd on baseball's career list. ... Braves C Clint Sammons cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Braves RHP Takashi Saito, fresh off the DL, pitched a scoreless eighth. ... The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 49 minutes by rain.