The well-traveled Vazquez looks to win his fifth straight start, and the Chicago White Sox will try to avoid a third consecutive loss Saturday when they continue a three-game weekend series against the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
Starting in 2003, Vazquez (4-1, 2.88 ERA) spent a year with Montreal, the New York Yankees and Arizona before being traded to the defending World Series champions in December in a deal involving Orlando Hernandez.
Vazquez struggled in his first two starts with Chicago, giving up nine runs and 14 hits in 13 innings, but has since found his groove. He’s thrown at least 100 pitches in his four wins, and has given up only five runs and 16 hits in 27 2-3 innings. Opponents also are hitting just .174 against him.
In his last start on Saturday, Vazquez took a perfect game into the sixth inning in Chicago’s 9-2 rout of Kansas City—and believes he can still pitch better.
“I can’t say it was my best stuff,” he said. “I’ve felt better at other times. The key is that my pitches were working. I was throwing strikes.”
He has made three career starts against the Twins, going 1-1 with a 6.05 ERA. His only start in Minneapolis came on Aug. 17, 2004, while with the Yankees during an 8-2 loss when he gave up six runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.
After starting the season with two straight wins, Twins starter Brad Radke (3-4, 7.75) has lost four of his last five decisions, including in his only start this season versus Chicago.
On April 22, the right-hander was tagged for six runs and 10 hits over five innings in a 9-2 loss.
Since beating the White Sox on July 26, 2004, Radke is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in four starts. Overall, he is 14-14 with a 4.73 ERA in 32 lifetime starts against them.
Minnesota (16-19) opened the series Friday with 10-1 rout, snapping a six-game skid against the White Sox dating back to Sept. 23. Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana struck out 10 over seven innings, and Justin Morneau, Tony Batista and Joe Mauer all homered.
Santana posted double-digit strikeouts for the third time in four starts. He has allowed just four runs in three starts this month.
“He was as good as you can do it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He kept them off balance and kept attacking them.”
Minnesota’s Torii Hunter also continued to thrive while batting fourth. With a hit in five trips to the plate Friday, Hunter is batting .428 (18-for-42) in eight games when inserted in the cleanup spot.
Chicago (23-11) has not dropped three straight since losing a season-high four in a row from April 4-8. The White Sox got off to a 1-4 start, but won 22 of 29 since.
Paul Konerko’s solo homer prevented the White Sox from being shut out for the first time since Sept. 21. Konerko has 17 career hits off Radke, his most against any pitcher.
Konerko has 211 career homers with the White Sox, and needs four more to move past Carlton Fisk into third place on the White Sox’ all-time list. Konerko has four career homers off Radke.