CLEVELAND – No one ever says it’s over in Major League Baseball until elimination becomes almost a certainty.

That’s why no one would have completely written off the White Sox had they dropped their make-up game with the Guardians on Thursday afternoon. But they would have been five games behind Cleveland in the American League Central division with just 18 contests left to play, and it would really have been since that win would have clinched the Guardians the season series.

Remember, no “Game 163” to break ties anymore, so head-to-head determines who moves onto the postseason.

It wouldn’t have been over, but the sledding would have gotten even more challenging for a White Sox club that’s struggled for consistency all season.

Luckily, they didn’t have to think too much about that.

Facing a rookie pitcher making just his second major league start, the White Sox offense woke up at Progressive Field after being shutout on Wednesday, slugging five homers in an 8-2 victory.

It pulls them to within three games of the Guardians with just 18 games to play, with the teams meeting one more time this season for a three-game series next Tuesday through Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The White Sox started to get their offense rolling against Hunter Gaddis in the second inning with homers from Gavin Sheets (solo) and Andrew Vaughn (2-run) getting the visitors on the board. Solo homers were the trend in the next three innings with Yoan Moncada (3rd), Yasmani Grandal (4th), and Elvis Andrus (5th) each hitting one to chase Gaddis from the game.

Jose Abreu’s had an RBI hit later in the fifth and then in the ninth to complete the scoring.

That was plenty for Lance Lynn, who allowed just two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings with just six strikeouts compared to just one walk.

All around, the White Sox got efforts they had to have during their biggest win of the season to date to keep the playoffs within reach.