The Chicago White Sox are not scoring many runs, but their starting pitching has prevented that from being a problem of late.
On the verge of his 100th victory, Mark Buehrle looks to give the White Sox another strong outing as they go for their fourth straight win Saturday night when they continue their series with the visiting Kansas City Royals.
Jon Garland allowed one run in 8 1-3 innings of Chicago’s 2-1 victory in Friday’s series opener. Over the last four games, White Sox starters have allowed three runs in 31 innings.
“All five of them have done a great job of going as deep as they can,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of the starters, who have gone at least six innings in 17 straight starts. “They’re inning-eaters.”
Pierzynski homered and Darin Erstad drove in the other run for the White Sox, who had only five hits.
Chicago has scored just 11 runs during its three-game winning streak. The White Sox (17-15) are two games above .500 despite hitting a major-league worst .222.
“I’m happy where we are right now,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “But it’s like every time we win, it’s like, ‘Oh my god.’ Because we expect a lot out of our offense and it hasn’t showed up yet.”
While Chicago has struggled at the plate, Pierzynski is batting .412 (7-for-17) with two homers and five RBIs in his last five games.
Buehrle (2-1, 3.22 ERA) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings Sunday, but did not factor in the decision of Chicago’s 10-inning, 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
The left-hander, who is 99-67 in eight seasons, allowed three runs in seven innings to pick up the win at Kansas City on April 23. Buehrle is 16-6 with a 3.28 ERA in 31 games- 29 starts - against Kansas City, including wins in his last three decisions against the Royals.
Mark Grudzielanek’s double in the ninth drove in the lone run for the Royals (11-25), who have lost six of seven and opened their 10-game road trip with a defeat.
“We gave it a run as usual,” Grudzielanek said. “We’re just a little short. It’s always one little play or a hit short of winning the ballgame.”
The Royals hope Scott Elarton will give them a boost Saturday when he makes his 2007 debut. Elarton went 4-9 with a 5.34 ERA in 2006, then underwent offseason shoulder surgery.
The right-hander suffered through a disappointing first season with the Royals in 2006, allowing 26 homers while recording more walks (52) than strikeouts (49) in his 20 starts.
Elarton allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings and walked five in a start for Double-A Wichita last week.
“I felt good. I fell out of rhythm a couple of times and walked two guys in a row twice, but I felt good, two runs and six innings, I’ll take that,” Elarton told the Royals’ official Web site.
He is 2-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 13 career games - 10 starts - against the White Sox.