When Alexei Ramirez first went down and rolled around on the ground at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday night, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen feared the worst.
"I was worried," Guillen said. "When I went to the field out there I thought he was dead. He rolled around the plate like someone took the head away on a chicken."
Squaring up to bunt in the first inning after Juan Pierre led off with a double, Ramirez was hit just below his right thumb by a pitch from Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona.
Not only did he live, Ramirez stayed in the game and led the Sox to an 8-2 win and two-game sweep over the first-place Indians.
"At first when it hit me, I was definitely worried because there was pain there," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "But once (trainer) Herm (Schneider) came out and started squeezing my hand, I felt like there wasn't as much pain. I felt like I was OK."
Ramirez is OK, and apparently, so are the White Sox (20-25).
They've won three straight, which matches a season high, and they are 5 games under .500 for the first time since April 27.
And they teed off on Carmona, a pretty good right-hander who came in with a 3.94 ERA.
Ramirez paced the 10-hit attack with a 2-run double in the second inning and a single in the sixth.
"Having the sweep feels great," Ramirez said. "But this is what I expect from our team. Right now we're just getting in our rhythm and we're going to just keep on going with that."
Thanks to another sluggish start, the Sox have a long way to go to get back in the race, and they still trail the Indians (26-15) by 8 games.
But it's finally starting to come together, and look for the offense to heat up as the weather finally warms.
"We've run into some really good teams and really good pitching," said designated hitter Adam Dunn, who delivered a 2-run single in the second inning. "We are still a pretty good offense, regardless of what the numbers say. I think we have 100 and I don't know how many games left and that's a long season."
It's been a tough offensive season for Dunn, among others, and the big left-hander is still batting an anemic .203 while leading the White Sox with 51 strikeouts in 133 at-bats.
If Dunn doesn't come out of the deep freeze, the Sox are going to have some big problems getting back into the race.
"I have no excuses," Dunn said. "I just stink. I've been getting some good pitches to hit and it seems like I'll hit a ball hard like tonight. I hit a ball hard but that's kind of my home run pitch. We just have to continue to work and keep barreling."
Maybe the Cleveland series will be the springboard the White Sox have been looking for.
"It is early," said Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who allowed 1 run on 5 hits over 7 innings to get the win. "I think we have a great team, a great all-around baseball team, and I think we can do it. We've done it last year to come back and get in the hunt again so I have no doubt we can do that."