The Chicago White Sox have been forced to wait one more day before getting the opportunity to continue their solid play at home.
Following a rainout, the White Sox look to win for the eighth time in their last 11 games at U.S. Cellular Field when they conclude their abbreviated series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Sunday.
Heavy rain Saturday postponed the middle contest of the three-game set between Chicago (24-20) and the Devil Rays (19-28). The game will not be made up until Monday, Aug. 27.
The White Sox won Friday’s series opener 5-4 on Joe Crede’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning. Chicago lost seven of 12 home games in April before winning seven of 10 this month.
Crede returned to the lineup after missing four games with back problems. The struggling third baseman went 2-for-4 to boost his average to .223.
“Everything felt good,” said Crede, who hit .283 with 30 home runs a season ago. “Playing defense was the biggest thing. You’re bending over a lot for the pitches. Everything went well.”
The White Sox expect first baseman Paul Konerko to be back after he missed Friday’s game due to a death in the family. It’s also been a difficult season on the field for Konerko, who’s hitting .178 with only five RBIs in 21 home games.
Scheduled Saturday starter Javier Vazquez (2-2, 4.21 ERA) will take the mound for Chicago in the series finale.
The White Sox won Vazquez’s first four starts of the season, but are winless in his four May outings, as the right-hander has gone 0-2 with a 4.61 ERA in those contests.
Vazquez is pitching for the first time since May 19, when he allowed five runs over seven innings in an 11-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He surrendered two homers, and has given up five in his last four outings after yielding only one in his first four.
Vazquez is 3-1 with a 4.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Devil Rays.
Tampa Bay rookie outfielder Elijah Dukes was back in the lineup Friday after missing two games amid allegations he threatened to kill his estranged wife and their two young children.
Dukes started in center field and hit a game-tying three-run homer in the seventh inning - his only hit in four at-bats.
“I chose tonight because I felt it was time to move things along,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s a member of this team. I thought about it a lot, talked to (executive vice president Andrew Friedman) about it a lot. I just want to get back to playing baseball and put this thing behind us.”
Kazmir has been pitching well lately, but is seeking his first win since April 29 because of lack of help from his offense.
He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three of four starts since his last win, but has also received two runs of support or less three times in that span. On Tuesday, the 23-year-old left-hander gave up two runs and four hits in five innings, but did not record a decision in a 5-2 loss to Seattle.
Kazmir was impressive in his only career start against the White Sox, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings of a 10-7 win last May 16.
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