Contreras tries for his first victory in four starts since coming off the DL when the White Sox continue their three-game series with the Detroit Tigers, owners of the major leagues’ best record, on Wednesday.
Contreras (5-0, 2.53 ERA) allowed a season-high six runs and eight hits in five innings of Chicago’s 12-8 loss to Cleveland on Thursday, and didn’t receive a decision. The Cuban right-hander had not given up that many runs since allowing six at Baltimore on July 30, and had not left a game so early since lasting just five innings in his following start against Toronto on Aug. 4.
“My rhythm wasn’t there,” Contreras said through a translator after Thursday’s outing. “With the rhythm not there, that’s where losing control comes. And if you are falling behind in the count, the hitters are going to hit you.”
Contreras has not gotten a decision in three starts since going on the 15-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his right hip, posting a 5.13 ERA in those games. He went 5-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his first six outings before the injury.
Nonetheless, he has won 13 straight decisions in 17 starts since his last loss Aug. 15, the fourth-longest winning streak by a White Sox pitcher since 1970 and the longest since Wilson Alvarez won 15 straight from Aug. 24, 1993-May 27, 1994.
Contreras is 6-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 12 starts against the Tigers, tied for his most wins against any team.
The White Sox (35-22) won for just the fourth time in 11 games Tuesday, 4-3 over the Tigers. Alex Cintron hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to erase a 3-1 deficit for Chicago, which trails Detroit by 1 1/2 games in the AL Central.
The homer was the first since Sept. 22 for Cintron, who started at shortstop because Juan Uribe’s wife was expecting a baby.
“We’ve got some professional hitters—(Rob) Mackowiak, Cintron, (Ross) Gload—guys that aren’t in there every day,” teammate Paul Konerko said. “They’re very good situational hitters. Other than Jim (Thome), I don’t think we have guys who are the superstar, guys you appreciate watching one day. It’s something you have to watch over time.”
Jermaine Dye also homered for the White Sox, who are a major league-best 21-8 at home. Thome returned to the lineup after missing a three-game series against Texas with a strained left groin and went 1-for-3.
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez left the game after the third inning with lower back spasms and is day-to-day.
Justin Verlander (7-3, 3.13) will look to help the Tigers bounce back Wednesday. He allowed six runs and seven hits in five innings of Detroit’s 7-6 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday, and did not receive a decision.
The rookie right-hander had not allowed that many runs since his second start of the season April 13, when he gave up seven runs, including two homers, in a 13-9 loss to the White Sox. That was his only career appearance against Chicago.
“He got away from his strengths—he was pitching careful instead of pitching aggressive,” manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s what happens when you see the Yanks for the first time.”
Verlander went 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA in May and was named AL rookie of the month.