Mark Buehrle hopes to avoid his season-high third straight loss when the struggling AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox continue a three-game series with the resurgent Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
Buehrle, the American League’s All-Star game starter, has been one of the league’s most consistent pitchers. However, the left-hander has lost each of his last two starts, surrendering nine runs and 20 hits over 14 innings while striking out nine and walking four.
He was reached for five runs and eight hits over seven innings in last Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Buehrle lost consecutive outings for the first time since July 3-9, when he dropped two in a row to Oakland.
“We’re in a little funk. I don’t think anybody’s worried about our lead,” Buehrle said.
The defending three-time division champion Twins may have something to say about that. They closed within 9 1/2 games of Chicago and 2 1/2 of the wild-card lead with Tuesday’s series-opening 1-0 win.
White Sox starter Freddy Garcia carried a no-hitter into the eighth but was burned by Jacque Jones’ homer leading off the inning as Johan Santana and Minnesota pulled out a 1-0 win—their fourth straight against Chicago and 10th in 12 games overall despite managing one hit.
Chicago has lost eight of its last nine games, shaving its lead in the division to just seven games over red-hot Cleveland.
The Twins and White Sox meet nine more times this season. However, Minnesota may be without left fielder Shannon Stewart for the remainder of this series.
Stewart left Tuesday’s game in the fourth inning after straining his left shoulder running into the outfield wall to make a tough catch.
The team said Stewart would have X-rays and be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
Michael Ryan replaced Stewart for the Twins, who are missing center fielder Torii Hunter for probably the remainder of the regular season with a broken left ankle. Also, regular right fielder Jones is expected to miss games Wednesday and Thursday to attend a family funeral.