Mark Buehrle will continue his quest to pitch the White Sox into first place in the AL Central as Chicago resumes a four-game series with the defending World Series champion Anaheim Angels at Edison Field.
The left-hander has been a major part of Chicago’s second-half resurgence in the Central race, going 8-1 in his last 11 starts after ending a career-worst 12-start winless streak during which he lost nine straight decisions.
The White Sox have made up 6 1/2 games since the All-Star break, pulling within a half-game of first-place Kansas City.
On Friday, Buehrle recovered nicely from his first loss in nearly two months, pitching a five-hitter in his second complete game of the season, a 3-2 victory over Oakland. The 24-year-old southpaw struck out six without a walk, outpitching fellow lefty Mark Mulder.
Buehrle retired 17 of the last 19 batters and received a standing ovation from the crowd at U.S. Cellular Field before each of the final three innings.
“I just tried not to get too worked up, I kind of got chills,” Buehrle said of the crowd reaction. “I think it was the seventh inning when they started standing up. I just had to keep the mindset not to overthrow,”
The White Sox dropped Monday’s series opener, but bounced back with a 10-4 rout Tuesday. Magglio Ordonez, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Carlos Lee drove in two runs apiece for Chicago, which has won 18 of its last 24 games.
The Angels have dropped nine of 11.
STANDINGS: White Sox - 2nd place, 1/2 GB, AL Central. Angels - 3rd place, 17 GB, AL West.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Buehrle (10-11, 4.29 ERA). Buehrle is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in five career appearances, including four starts, against the Angels.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Jarrod Washburn (9-11, 4.51 ERA). Washburn ended a four-start winless streak Friday with one of his best performances of a disappointing season. The left-hander yielded one run and three hits over eight innings, lifting the Angels to a 5-2 victory over Cleveland. Washburn, who went a career-best 18-6 in helping Anaheim win its first championship last year, has pitched better of late, yielding one run or fewer in three of his last six outings. Washburn is 3-3 with a 4.81 ERA in seven career starts against the White Sox.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: White Sox - Ordonez, .321 avg. and 73 runs; Frank Thomas, 28 HRs; Carlos Lee, 82 RBIs and 11 SBs. Angels - Garret Anderson, .313 avg., 26 HRs and 94 RBIs; Tim Salmon, 63 runs; Adam Kennedy, 15 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: White Sox - 1B-DH Paul Konerko is hitting .409 (9-for-22) with two homers and seven RBIs in his career against LHP Washburn. … LHP Buehrle is 5-7 with a 4.41 ERA in 15 road starts this year. … The White Sox snapped a three-game road losing streak Tuesday. Angels - DH Shawn Wooten is mired in a 2-for-23 slump. … SS David Eckstein sat out Tuesday’s game with tightness in his right hamstring. … Rookie SS Alfredo Amezaga is 2-for-28 since being promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake on June 24. He was hitting .347 in the minors.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: White Sox - 26-34 on the road; Angels - 32-29 at home.