CHICAGO — Jose Contreras is ready for his favorite kind of six-pack.
"Hopefully, there are five more wins to come after this one," said Contreras, who made a strong bid to keep his job in Chicago's rotation Wednesday by leading the White Sox over the Kansas City Royals 4-2.
It's been a bizarre season of sixes for Contreras, who has faltered in recent years after starring during the team's 2005 championship run.
He went 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA in this season's first six starts, followed by 4-2 with a 2.06 ERA in his next six outings. He then slumped to 0-4 with a 7.62 ERA in six starts before Wednesday.
That last stretch of poor pitching prompted the White Sox to bring in fellow '05 World Series hero Freddy Garcia to compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
One day after Garcia couldn't make it out of the fifth inning, Contreras (5-11) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked one to win for the first time since July 8.
"If this start was the beginning of the right kind of six-game streak, that would be huge for us," Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski said. "We need Jose. If you can get the back end of your rotation going, that's how you get on a roll."
The White Sox, who have won eight of their last nine home series, began the day three games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
Given that the struggling Contreras was going against AL ERA leader Zack Greinke, "the odds obviously were against us," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.
But Greinke was just a little off and the White Sox capitalized. Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios hit solo home runs — the first three-homer game off Greinke since he allowed four at U.S. Cellular Field on June 3 last year.
Still, he wasn't especially impressed with Chicago's all-or-nothing offensive approach.
"When you make your pitches, they don't have a chance," said Greinke, whose ERA rose to 2.44. "If I executed a pitch, it was an out or a swing-and-miss. When I didn't, it was a double or a home run."
Aside from the homers, the other three hits he allowed in his seven innings were doubles. Coming in, he had given up only seven home runs all season and had just one multiple-homer game against him, June 5 at Toronto. Greinke entered July at 10-3 with a 1.95 ERA but is 1-5 with a 3.41 ERA since.
Contreras allowed singles in the first and third innings but erased the runners on double-play grounders. After surrendering David DeJesus' leadoff homer in the fourth, he retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.
"We still believe in him," Guillen said. "Hopefully, all those painful outings (are finished) and he'll have nice ones at the end of the season."
Matt Thornton got four outs, allowing Mark Teahen's eighth-inning homer, and Bobby Jenks struck out the final two batters for his 26th save in 30 chances.
Paul Konerko doubled in a first-inning run, joining Frank Thomas and Luke Appling as the only White Sox with 1,000 RBIs.
Beckham's third-inning homer made it 2-0, and Quentin's shot in the fourth answered DeJesus' home run. In the seventh, Rios hit his first homer since the White Sox claimed him off waivers from Toronto on Aug. 10.
NOTES: Jake Peavy, out since June 9 with an ankle injury, needs at least two more rehab starts in the minors, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. The original plan called for the 2007 NL Cy Young winner, acquired from San Diego at the trading deadline, to start Aug. 28 against the Yankees. But after Peavy allowed four runs in four innings during Tuesday's rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte, Cooper said a September comeback is more likely. ... Royals closer Joakim Soria, who twisted his ankle while following through on the second pitch of his successful one-inning appearance Tuesday, had very little swelling overnight and could have pitched Wednesday. ... Both teams are off Thursday.