Chicago lost 4-3 to Texas on Friday, matching a season-high with their fourth straight defeat. The White Sox (33-21) also lost four in a row from April 4-8, but haven’t lost more than that since losing seven straight from Aug. 12-20.
Chicago was swept in three games on the road by Cleveland, then began a nine-game homestand by surrendering the winning run to Texas (29-25) in the top of the ninth on Friday.
At 19-7, the White Sox still have the best home winning percentage (.730) in the AL, but they lost for the first time in their last four games at U.S. Cellular Field.
Chicago had also won four of five at home against Texas before the Rangers came through in their last at-bat. Gary Matthews Jr. doubled off Chicago closer Bobby Jenks, driving home Ian Kinsler to break open a tie game.
“It looks worse than it actually is because we’ve got 162 games, we’re not at the halfway mark yet, there’s too much season left to go,” Jenks said. “It looks bad right now because it’s everybody (struggling) at once.”
It was the sixth win in the last eight games for the AL West-leading Rangers, who were opening a 10-game road trip.
“Since I’ve been here, it seems like this team has the ability to score runs late,” said Matthews, who signed with Texas during the 2004 season. “It’s a credit to our depth on the team. You’ve got to have that attitude that you never give up. I think we have that attitude because we know that we’re not dependent on any one player or any one hitter to get it done.”
Vicente Padilla (5-3, 4.57 ERA) looks to win his third straight decision when he starts for Texas on Saturday. Padilla beat Oakland on Sunday, giving up five hits and three runs in six innings.
He’s faced the White Sox once in his career, on June 19, 2002 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Padilla allowed three runs in 7 1-3 innings of that contest, but didn’t earn a decision in Philadelphia’s 4-3 win.
Javier Vazquez (6-3, 3.86) is also looking for his third straight victory. He allowed two hits in six innings as Chicago beat Cleveland 11-0 on Monday.
Vazquez has faced Texas once in his career, beating the Rangers 8-3 on May 23, 2004, when he was with the Yankees. He allowed six hits and three runs in six innings.
Designated hitter Jim Thome, who was scratched from the lineup on Friday because of a strain in his left leg, is expected to play on Saturday.
“I’m not going to push this guy,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I’d rather lose a game than lose him for 15 days. It sounds funny when the manager says that when (the team’s) not playing well.”
Friday’s contest was the second Thome has missed this season.