Victor Zambrano won four times in June. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment considering his team won only five games.
The Devil Rays’ 5-21 mark last month could have been a lot worse without Zambrano, who was one of the AL’s best pitchers in June. The right-hander was 4-1 in six starts, tying a team record for wins in a month. His 2.36 ERA in the month was bettered only by Seattle’s Freddy Garcia (2.05) and Jamie Moyer (2.16), and he allowed only 23 hits in 42 innings.
Zambrano will have to be sharp again against a White Sox team that brings plenty of momentum to Tropicana Field.
Chicago has won three straight and six of seven to reach .500 for the first time since it was 20-20 on May 15. The White Sox have climbed within 3 1/2 games of first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.
The acquisition of Alomar was one of two big trades pulled off by White Sox general manager Ken Williams, who also got outfielder Carl Everett from Texas.
“That was awesome. Kenny went out and made two very big moves and showed he’s serious about winning,” Thomas said.
“I’m 35. You never know when you’re going to get another chance. I’m definitely going to go out and give everything I’ve got the rest of the season. There’s no easy outs in this lineup now.”
Bartolo Colon will start for the White Sox. He is 4-0 with a 2.87 ERA in seven career starts against the Devil Rays.
Marlon Anderson singled with the bases loaded in the 10th as the Devil Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5 on Thursday night. Tampa Bay won two of three, winning a series for the first time since May 16-18. The Devil Rays had been 0-12-1 in series since.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “It feels good, I can tell you that.”
Tampa Bay hasn’t won consecutive games since May 15-16.
STANDINGS: White Sox - 3rd place, 3 1/2 GB, AL Central. Devil Rays - 5th place, 24 GB, AL East.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Colon (6-7, 4.20 ERA). Colon is 0-2 in his last four starts and was only 1-3 in six June outings. The right-hander surrendered six runs in 5 1-3 innings as the White Sox beat the Chicago Cubs 7-6 last Saturday. He has yielded at least four runs in five of his last seven starts.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Zambrano (5-4, 4.04 ERA). Zambrano has won two straight starts, though he allowed six runs in six innings of Saturday’s 9-7 victory over Atlanta. He is 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA in seven starts since being recalled from Triple-A Durham on May 23, and both losses were by 2-1 scores. He is 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA in five career games, including one start, against the White Sox.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: White Sox - Thomas, .287 avg. and 20 HRs; Everett, 51 RBIs and 53 runs; Carlos Lee, 8 SBs. Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli, .310 avg.; Aubrey Huff, 16 HRs, 49 RBIs and 47 runs; Carl Crawford, 19 SBs.
2002 SEASON SERIES: White Sox, 4-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: White Sox - Chicago has hit 12 homers in its last three games. … The White Sox are unbeaten in their last six series (5-0-1). They have won seven straight series openers. … Chicago has won seven of its last 10 road games. Devil Rays - Twelve of Tampa Bay’s last 15 games have been decided by two or fewer runs. The Devil Rays have played 51 games decided by one or two runs, most in the majors. They are 21-30 in those games. … LHP Joe Kennedy, Tampa Bay’s opening day starter, will make his second rehab start Friday for Triple-A Durham. He has been on the disabled list since June 3 with a shoulder injury. … The Devil Rays have made only one error in their last 13 games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: White Sox - 16-24 on the road; Devil Rays - 16-27 at home.