Mark Buehrle has been one of the few pitchers to baffle Boston’s formidable lineup this season.
He will try to continue that trend when the Chicago White Sox wrap up an important three-game series at Fenway Park.
The league leaders in nearly every important offensive category, Red Sox hitters have not been able to break through against Buehrle. The 24-year-old left-hander is 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA in two starts against Boston this year.
For his career, Buehrle is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four outings, including three starts, against the Red Sox.
Buehrle appeared to be on his way to a second straight win over the Red Sox on Sept. 3, but Boston rallied against the bullpen, pulling out a 5-4 win in 10 innings. Buehrle allowed just two runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings that night, leaving the game with a 2-1 lead.
On Tuesday, Buehrle ended a two-start winless skid, yielding two runs and seven hits over six innings in an 8-6 victory over Minnesota at U.S. Cellular Field.
Bartolo Colon held Boston in check Saturday, tossing his third straight complete game as Chicago held on for a 3-1 win. The victory kept the White Sox in a first-place tie with Minnesota atop the AL Central, and dropped Boston 5 1/2 games back of New York in the AL East race.
Carlos Lee went 3-for-4 with a homer as Chicago ended a three-game losing streak.
“Every win for us right now is huge,” Lee said. “If we win, (the Twins) have to worry about us.”
Johnny Damon had three hits for Boston, which still leads the AL wild-card standings.
The Red Sox lost for just the third time in 11 games in September.
STANDINGS: White Sox - 1st place (tied), AL Central. Red Sox - 2nd place, 5 1/2 GB, AL East.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Buehrle (12-13, 4.18 ERA). Buehrle is 5-9 with a 4.75 ERA in 17 road starts this year. He won his only previous start at Fenway on July 28, 2001, Buehrle allowed one run and five hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 3-1 win.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: John Burkett (10-7, 4.95 ERA). Burkett has managed just one win in his last six starts. He did not receive a decision in Boston’s 13-10 loss at Baltimore on Monday, surrendering five runs and a season high-tying 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings. The veteran right-hander posted a 2-1 win at Chicago on Sept. 2, allowing a run and three hits over six innings. For his career, he is 3-3 with a 6.15 ERA in eight starts against the White Sox.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: White Sox - Magglio Ordonez, .321 avg. and 90 runs; Frank Thomas, 40 HRs; Lee, 101 RBIs and 18 SBs. Red Sox - Bill Mueller, .331 avg.; Manny Ramirez, 32 HRs; Nomar Garciaparra, 97 RBIs and 113 runs; Damon, 28 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Red Sox, 5-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: White Sox - RHP Tom Gordon, who left the team to attend his uncle’s funeral, is expected to join the team Tuesday in Minnesota. … OF Lee has nine multihit games in his last 15. … 1B-DH Thomas is 8-for-21 (.381) with a homer and six RBIs in his career against RHP Burkett. Red Sox - RF Trot Nixon, out with a strained calf muscle, took batting practice Saturday, but not at full power. He is expected to miss several more days. … The Red Sox are 12-2 in their last 14 games against the AL Central. … Boston has 596 extra-base hits this season, the fourth-highest total in baseball history. The 1996 Mariners hold the record with 607.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: White Sox - 31-42 on the road; Red Sox - 47-25 at home.
INJURIES: White Sox - LHP Josh Stewart (hand), 15-day DL. Red Sox - DH-OF Jeremy Giambi (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Bob Howry (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Robert Person (hip), 60-day DL; OF Nixon (calf), day-to-day.