Seattle (17-11) at Chicago (15-13)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri May 2, 2003
  • TV: KSTW, FSCH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Esteban Loaiza looks to continue his remarkable early season run as the Chicago White Sox take on the Seattle Mariners in the opener of a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.

Loaiza improved his record to 5-0 his last time out, giving up just one earned run and six hits while striking out eight in seven innings of a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

Loaiza, who boasts an AL-leading 1.25 ERA, became the first White Sox pitcher since Wilson Alvarez in 1994 to win five games in April.

“I don’t know why. In April, I’ve been good all of my career, and now I’m outstanding. I’ve just got to continue what I’m doing,” Loaiza said. “I haven’t felt like this in a long time.”

The 31-year-old righty was a non-roster invitee in spring training. Now, Chicago can’t imagine being without him.

“I haven’t seen a bad outing from him since he joined us in spring training,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “He’s using his changeup and his cutter and freezing right-handed hitters. He’s doing good things with the baseball and has been very consistent.”

On Monday, Loaiza, who gave up just one run and four hits over 8 1-3 innings in a 3-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on April 22, became the first White Sox pitcher since Jack McDowell in 1993 to be named AL player of the week.

“I throw a lot of strikes, and I’m getting ahead in the counts,” Loaiza said. “I pitch quickly, and I always know what I want to throw next. I don’t want to give hitters a chance to think about what I’m going to throw.

“Otherwise, I’m just relaxing and pitching my game.”

The White Sox come in off Thursday’s 7-5 win over the Oakland Athletics, just their fourth victory in their last 11 games.

Magglio Ordonez went 3-for-5 with a home run, and Miguel Olivo added a solo homer for Chicago.

The Mariners come in off Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the red-hot New York Yankees, their second straight setback and third in five games.

Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-4 after going just 1-for-10 in the first two games for the Mariners, who outscored the Yankees 12-10 despite losing the series.

STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place (tied), AL West. White Sox - 2nd place, 3 1/2 GB, AL Central.

MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Ryan Franklin (1-2, 4.50 ERA). Franklin turned in his worst outing of the season on Saturday, giving up five runs, four earned, and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. In eight career appearances, including only one start, against the White Sox he is 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA.

WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Loaiza (5-0, 1.25 ERA). In six career starts against the Mariners, Loaiza is 2-3 and has a 7.67 ERA, his second-highest mark against any team in baseball.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Edgar Martinez, .342 avg.; Bret Boone, 7 HRs and 21 RBIs; Boone and Randy Winn, 19 runs; Suzuki, 6 SBs. White Sox - Ordonez, .295 avg. and 3 SBs; Ordonez, Jose Valentin and Carlos Lee, 6 HRs; Ordonez and Lee, 19 RBIs; Lee, 16 runs.

2002 SEASON SERIES: White Sox, 5-4.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - After amassing a major league-record 450 hits in his first two seasons, RF Suzuki is batting just .252 (29-for-115) this season. … DH Martinez needs just two hits to reach 2,000 for his career. … SS Carlos Guillen is 6-for-7 (.857) with a home run and two RBIs all-time against Loaiza. White Sox - LHP Kelly Wunsch gave up his first hit of the season Thursday after retiring 21 straight. … 2B D’Angelo Jimenez is hitless in his last 17 at-bats. … The White Sox rank third-to-last in the AL with a .250 team batting average.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 6-6 on the road; White Sox - 10-6 at home.

INJURIES: Mariners - OF Chris Snelling (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki (back), 15-day DL. White Sox - RHP Dan Wright (elbow), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Franklin StL vs. E. Loaiza CWS
11-13 Record 21-9
3.57 ERA 2.90
99 K 207
61 BB 56
1.23 WHIP 1.11