CHICAGO - Nick Swisher knows this much: It's almost as difficult trying to explain how he's overcome his slow start with the Chicago White Sox as it has been to actually do it.
"I wish I had the answers to it. I don't think in my mind I feel like I'm really doing anything differently now than I was at the beginning of the season. I don't know man, things seem like they're just starting to turn around," Swisher said.
Are they ever. Swisher homered from both sides of the plate last night - one was his second grand slam in four games - to lead the White Sox over the Cleveland Indians 9-7 for their fifth straight win.
The switch-hitting Swisher, who had a bases-loaded homer against the Cubs on Friday, connected from the right side against lefty Jeremy Sowers (0-4) to cap a five-run third inning. It was the major league-leading eighth grand slam given up by Cleveland's pitching staff this season.
In the sixth, Swisher went deep from the left side against Tom Mastny - the seventh time in Swisher's career he's homered from both sides, including twice this season.
"If you ask any switch hitter, it's very rare - besides Chipper Jones right now, the streak he's on - that you feel good from both sides of the plate at the same time," Swisher said. "I've been lucky enough. I've been feeling good from both sides. I just want to keep my same routines. Keep eating the same meals I've been eating."
Jim Thome got the White Sox started with a three-run homer in the first as the AL-Central leaders won their fifth straight game and knocked the Indians 10 1/2 games back.
Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta went 5-for-5 with three doubles, his 12th homer and three RBIs. The Indians made it interesting by scoring three in the top of the ninth before Matt Thornton got Casey Blake to line out with a runner on to get his first save in three chances.
"When you're down 8-1 in the second or third inning on the road, it can get to you if you allow it to. Our guys didn't," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
"They kept playing, and we were able to bring the tying run up. We're not looking for moral victories, that's for sure, but the flip side of that is we're never going to cave, and our guys didn't."
Thome's three-run homer was his second in two games and the 523rd of his career. Of Thome's 16 homers this season, six have come against the Indians, his former team.
"It's always nice against them. Sure," Thome said. "But to win the game is even better when you do well like that."
Gavin Floyd (9-4) allowed four runs and seven hits with a career-high 10 strikeouts over six innings.
Down 8-1 at one point, Cleveland got within four with a pair of runs in the sixth as Peralta doubled, Shin-Soo Choo hit an RBI single and moved to third on a stolen base and an error and scored on David Dellucci's RBI single off the top of second baseman Alexei Ramirez's glove.