Andruw hits 400th homer in big inning

Andruw hits 400th homer in big inning

CHICAGO -- During random times over the past few weeks, Ozzie Guillen has worn a T-Shirt into his postgame press conference at U.S. Cellular Field, printed up in honor of Andruw Jones reaching 400 career home runs.

Guillen made one special addition to the shirt, writing in marker the word "Please" above the slugger's picture. On Sunday afternoon, as part of the White Sox 15-5 pasting of the Royals for their eighth consecutive win, Jones honored his manager's request.

"I've been on 398 for a month, two months, so it's nice to get it over with and move on," said Jones of reaching 400 home runs for his career. "I was sitting there for a long time."

After going deep against Kansas City on May 5 for home run No. 397, Jones fell into the throes of a prolonged hitting slump. His average dipped from .270 to .190, and he had one home run during the entire month of June.

But a home run against the Angels on July 6 brought Jones within one of the milestone. He connected off of Anthony Lerew in Sunday's first-half finale for the White Sox third home run in a seven-run third inning, pulling the historic blast 371 feet down the left-field line.

Mark Kotsay and A.J. Pierzynski scored ahead of Jones, who broke a tie with Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga and took sole possession of 46th place. Frank Thomas is the only other player to hit his 400th career home run in a White Sox uniform.

"Andruw Jones has been a great player, and I'm happy for him to get 400," said Carlos Quentin, who hit two home runs and drove in five runs on Sunday, giving him three multi-homer games in his last four. "To reach 400 home runs in Major League Baseball, it's one of those. ... When you realize how blessed you are to be in the Majors and how difficult this level can be and is, to reach 400 puts you with the best of them."

"We need that from him," said Guillen of Jones' contributions. "In the beginning of the homestand, I told you guys we need Andruw to start swinging the bat better because we are going to face a few lefties coming up. We need him to join the group of guys swinging the bat well. He's come up big this weekend. He swung the bat very well, and that's the reason he's still in the lineup. We need good at-bats desperately from him."

Factoring in Jones' 2-for-4 showing on Sunday, including his 12th home run, the veteran has reached base in 12 of his previous 26 past appearances. That offensive uptick helps wash away the aftertaste of a 10-for-65 stretch over his previous 26 games.

Alex Rios, Quentin and Dayan Viciedo also homered in the third, matching the White Sox franchise high of four long balls in the same inning. That feat has been accomplished six times, with the last coming on Aug. 14, 2008. Going deep has become contagious for the White Sox, who have 31 home runs in their past 17 home games.

It's just that Jones' home run meant a little more and had been eagerly anticipated for the past two months.

"Everybody's starting to do little things for us to win," Jones said. "Carlos Quentin's getting locked in and he's driving in guys. I think Paul Konerko and Alex Rios have been doing a good job all year, so it's time for somebody else to start stepping up, and that's what we've been doing."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.