Chicago is playing its third series against Cleveland and has taken the first two games on all three occasions. But the White Sox have been thwarted in their previous bids for the sweep, blowing leads in the process both times.
On April 7, Chicago took a 5-2 lead into the top of the ninth inning only to have reliever Shingo Takatsu surrender three solo homers. Cleveland went on to an 11-5 win in 11 innings.
Exactly one week later, Victor Martinez hit a tying homer in the fifth inning and Alex Cora gave the Indians the lead for good the next inning with a tie-breaking RBI single. Cleveland posted an 8-6 victory.
The White Sox won for the fourth time in five games by holding on for a 6-5 victory on Saturday. Jon Garland earned his ninth victory in his third attempt by allowing four runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings.
After the game, Cleveland fired fourth-year hitting coach Eddie Murray, a Hall of Famer. The Indians have scored 75 runs over the last 16 games.
“We don’t make hasty decisions. It was a process and ultimately we decided to do it after the game today,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “There wasn’t one particular thing.”
Hitting coordinator Derek Shelton will take over as batting coach on an interim basis for Cleveland for the rest of the season.
Mark Buehrle looks for his seventh straight win for Chicago on Sunday. Buehrle is 6-0 with a 3.09 ERA over his last nine starts since his lone loss of the season at Minnesota on April 10.
The 26-year-old left-hander allowed two hits over eight innings in a 2-0 win over Cleveland on April 4. Buehrle improved to 6-7 with a 4.40 ERA against the Indians in 16 career appearances, including 15 starts.
Buehrle has failed to receive a decision in each of his last two starts despite pitching into the ninth inning on both occasions. He surrendered four runs and nine hits over 8 1-3 innings in a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
Cleveland will send ace C.C. Sabathia to the mound. The 24-year-old left-hander has never lost at U.S. Cellular Field, going 5-0 with a 2.21 ERA in five career starts.
Sabathia is 8-2 with a 4.16 ERA in 12 starts against the White Sox. He is 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA over his last three starts after giving up three runs and seven hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 4-3 victory at Minnesota on Tuesday.
Sabathia improved to 3-2 with a 4.31 ERA in five road starts.
The Indians have dropped four straight following a four-game winning streak.