With a double-digit lead in the American League Central, actual challenges have been tough to find for the White Sox.
Under these circumstances, a three-game losing streak without sluggers Frank Thomas and Jermaine Dye is about as rough as it gets these days.
But the Sox redeemed themselves Friday night with a mixture of patience, power and pitching.
They didn't get rattled when Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield limited them to three hits through the first five innings.
That patience paid off with a six-run sixth inning in which A.J. Pierzynski and Juan Uribe each hit a three-run homer as the Sox pulled away to an 8-4 victory over the Red Sox.
"I heard the crowd give a sigh of relief because it was a tense game," Pierzynski said.
Jon Garland became the major leagues' first 15-game winner as he worked out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings and was rewarded with the six-run outburst.
Garland's pitching, coupled with timely hitting, allowed the Sox (63-32) to snap their losing streak and extend their Central lead to 11 games over Minnesota.
There were no residual effects from Thursday's 6-5 loss to the Red Sox as manager Ozzie Guillen made the most of his makeshift lineup.
Aaron Rowand batted in the second spot and rewarded his manager with a game-tying solo home run in the fourth. The homer was Rowand's second in as many nights after not hitting one since June 12.
Rowand batted second because Guillen didn't want to expose Tadahito Iguchi to a knuckleball pitcher.
"Wakefield is a guy you can't explain until you step in the box and try to hit him," Pierzynski said.
Rowand, playing despite a sore lower back and pain behind his knee, fueled the six-run sixth with a one-out single. Paul Konerko kept the rally alive with a two-out single to right-center.
Pierzynski then had one of his most productive at-bats of the year. He poked several pitches foul before ripping a 2-2 pitch over the right-field fence to complete a seven-pitch at-bat and give the Sox a 4-1 lead.
Joe Crede and Timo Perez (starting in place of Dye) extended the rally with singles.
Uribe, celebrating his 26th birthday, then knocked out Wakefield when he ripped a pitch that struck the back of the bullpen wall in left.
"[Wakefield's] knuckleball was dancing all night," Guillen said. "Our home runs came with runners on base. That was the most important thing."
The six-run rally was the Sox's biggest since they scored 10 in the sixth inning in a 12-6 victory over Arizona on June 15.
The Sox added an insurance run in the eighth when Scott Podsednik hit an opposite-field single off left-handed submariner Mike Myers, stole his major-league-leading 50th base, advanced to third on Doug Mirabelli's throwing error and scored on Rowand's sacrifice fly.
Guillen allowed Garland (15-4) to start the seventh despite 101 pitches. Johnny Damon hit a homer and Garland eventually was pulled with two outs after throwing a season-high 117 pitches.
A crowd of 37,511 showed its appreciation by giving Garland a lengthy standing ovation.
Garland became the third Sox pitcher to win 15 games in 19 starts or fewer.
As much as the victory stopped a three-game losing streak, there also was hope and concern for the future.
Rookie Bobby Jenks mixed his 98-m.p.h. fastball with a pair of curves to strike out Kevin Millar and Mirabelli to end the eighth.
Closer Dustin Hermanson pitched for the first time since July 14 after suffering lower back pain but allowed a two-run homer to Adam Stern for the first homer of Stern's career.
White Sox 8, Red Sox 4