Jon Garland will try continue his amazing run on the mound and help the Chicago White Sox gain ground in the playoff race when their four-game series against the Cleveland Indians continues on Saturday.
Garland (16-4, 4.37 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.43 ERA over his last five outings. He’s also 12-1 with a 2.92 ERA in his last 15 starts, and needs one victory to tie Minnesota’s Johan Santana for the major-league lead.
This will be Garland’s first start of the year against the Indians. He went 3-1 with a 3.71 ERA in four starts against them last season as the White Sox ended an 88-year championship drought.
The right-hander looks to pitch Chicago (81-60) to a second straight victory in this series after a dramatic 7-6 victory on Friday on A.J. Pierzynski’s two-run walkoff homer.
The White Sox remained one-half game behind AL wild card leader Minnesota and moved within 4 1/2 games of first-place Detroit in the AL Central. The Twins defeated the Tigers 9-5.
Pierzynski’s shot off rookie Tom Mastny came after Paul Konerko’s leadoff single, and was the White Sox’s third win in nine games. Closer Bobby Jenks blew a 5-3 lead entering the ninth inning by allowing four straight doubles.
It was Jenks’ fourth blown save in 43 chances.
“It’s amazing how you can go from four straight doubles, being down a run, to a hit and a home run and we’re winning,” Pierzynski said. “Everything stays the same and we pick up a game on Detroit. It’s amazing how it goes up and down, back and forth.”
Konerko notched his first four-hit game since July 10, 2005.
Cleveland (67-73) lost for only the seventh time in 21 games, and fell to 8-6 against the White Sox this season. Leadoff hitter Grady Sizemore had three hits and is batting .375 (12-for-32) over his last eight games.
“It’s a tough way to lose a game,” said Sizemore, who also scored three runs. “We fought hard, we came back and they did a good job of getting us in the ninth.”
Sizemore is 6-for-12 against Garland in his career.
Fausto Carmona (1-8, 5.76) will return to the rotation for Cleveland. Carmona started in his first three major-league appearances in April before being shifted to the bullpen. He flopped as the team’s closer, leading to his demotion to Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 26.
In a six-day span from July 31-Aug. 5, Carmona blew all three of his save opportunites, allowing seven runs and five hits—including two walkoff homers.
All that came in only 1 2-3 innings for a 37.80 ERA.
“I just hope he relaxes, uses all his pitches and trusts his stuff,” manager Eric Wedge said.
The right-hander, who has pitched two scoreless innings of relief against Chicago this year, is 1-2 with a 7.94 ERA in his three starts.