With their offense and pitching rounding into form, the Chicago White Sox look for their third straight victory as they open a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Friday, in a matchup of the last two American League champions
One night after Mark Buehrle threw a no-hitter in a 6-0 victory, the White Sox (7-7) defeated Texas 6-4 on Thursday behind A.J. Pierzynski’s three-run homer and Rob Mackowiak’s two-run shot in the eighth.
Chicago had scored just two runs during a three-game losing skid before posting back-to-back wins, and manager Ozzie Guillen credits Buehrle’s near-perfect game for inspiring the team.
“I think we were better in the dugout. I think I see more life out of there. I see more guys rooting for each other and now I think they have more confidence. I like what I see right now,” Guillen said.
The White Sox are just 3-5 against the AL Central, but went 12-7 against the playoff-bound Tigers (9-6) last year. They won six of 10 games at Comerica Park, scoring 46 runs in their wins, but just four in the losses.
Paul Konerko went 0-for-4 on Thursday, striking out twice with the bases loaded, and is batting just .188 with 12 strikeouts in 14 games. He’ll have a favorable matchup on Friday to break out of his slump.
Konerko hit .350 (14-for-40) with three homers and 11 RBIs in 10 games in Detroit last season, and is batting .579 (11-for-19) with two doubles and seven RBIs in his career against Friday starter Chad Durbin (0-1, 12.46 ERA).
Durbin is looking to end a string of consecutive bad outings, but it won’t be easy against a Chicago team that has clobbered him in his career. He has allowed 12 runs and 17 hits in 8 2-3 innings in his two starts this season, and opponents are batting .425. Durbin gave up six runs and eight hits in four innings of a 10-7 win over Toronto on Saturday.
“He just threw too many hittable pitches,” manager Jim Leyland told the Tigers’ official Web site. “I’m not upset about it. He’s going to start in five days. But at the same time, you’ve got to throw better pitches than that against good hitting teams or you’re going to get the results you got today.”
The White Sox have hit Durbin well, as the right-hander is 1-6 with a 10.90 ERA in nine starts against them, allowing at least five runs in six of those outings.
Detroit lost to Kansas City 4-3 in 10 innings on Wednesday, as the Royals scored two runs off of closer Todd Jones in the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
Leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson went 3-for-5 on Wednesday to raise his season average to .305, but hit just .203 with 20 strikeouts in 18 games against Chicago last season.
White Sox rookie John Danks (0-2, 3.97) takes the hill in the series opener for his first career start against the Tigers.
Danks has been solid in his first two major league starts, allowing five runs in 11 1-3 innings, but hasn’t received a single run of support.
He gave up two runs—both on solo home runs—and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-0 loss to Cleveland on Saturday.
“It was another great outing for the kid,” Guillen said. “The two times he’s pitched, we haven’t supported him at all. The thing I love about him is he gave up the home runs, but came back the next inning and continued to pitch.”
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