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5 HRs power Cubs past White Sox

Nate Jones White Sox stands mound after giving up run seventh inning U.S. Cellular Field Monday June 18 2012 Chicago.

Nate Jones of the White Sox stands on the mound after giving up a run in the seventh inning at U.S. Cellular Field Monday, June 18, 2012, in Chicago. Jones allowed three consecutive one-run singles, and then a three-run home run, before leaving the game. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 20, 2012 6:28AM

The Cubs’ offense had been waiting for a game like this.

The White Sox found consolation in that the punishment was a price to pay for giving Chris Sale and Jake Peavy an extra day of rest.

In the end, the Cubs’ 12-3 victory Monday at U.S. Cellular Field might have been more a tonic for the North Siders and starter Matt Garza, who picked up his first victory since April 29.

‘‘It was awesome,’’ Garza said of the power surge by the Cubs, whose 12 runs, five home runs and 15 hits were highs for the season. ‘‘These guys have been playing their butts off, and you can’t ask for anything more.

‘‘That seventh inning [when 11 Cubs batted] was crazy but awesome.’’

The inning was so long, it ended Garza’s night. Shawn Camp and Manny Corpas pitching the last three innings.

The Cubs chased Sox fill-in starter Zach Stewart (1-2) in the sixth, then pounded Will Ohman and Nate Jones in the seventh for six runs, including a three-run homer by Luis Valbuena.

The other homers came from Bryan LaHair, Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto.

A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko homered against Garza for the Sox’ only runs.

‘‘He commanded all of his pitches, and even the pitch to Konerko wasn’t a mistake,’’ Soto said of Garza, who was 0-4 in his last seven starts.

Sox pitchers didn’t get away with anything on this night.

‘‘We were hitting the fastball and taking advantage of every mistake they made —and doing it throughout the lineup,’’ Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

‘‘We haven’t played good lately, but tonight the offense came out,’’ Soriano said.

The Cubs had scored six runs combined in the first three games against the Sox at Wrigley Field. The most they had ever scored on the South Side in the crosstown series was 10 on July 2, 2006.

‘‘Yesterday’s loss [to the Dodgers in extra innings] stung, and today we just got beat,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said.

The loss cut the Sox’ lead over the Indians to a half-game in the American League Central. The Sox have lost five of their last six games.

The crowd of 33,215 was the smallest ever in the crosstown series, fewer than the 34,537 who were at Wrigley on May 18.

The Cubs added some intrigue to the lineup with LaHair in right field — a move Sveum and team president Theo Epstein admitted is a precursor to the impending arrival of minor-league first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

LaHair, who played the outfield last season, was fine defensively, and his two-run homer in the third opened the scoring.

‘‘You don’t know the date of when Rizzo gets here, but that’s what it would be,’’ Sveum said of moving LaHair to the outfield. ‘‘I thought the catch he made in the first [on Gordon Beckham’s drive] was a key.’’

LaHair knows he will be seeing more time in the outfield when Rizzo arrives.

‘‘I’ll play wherever they want,’’ he said.

‘‘I had a feeling I’d get a ball early in the game. It always works that way.’’

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