The left-hander tries to become the AL’s first 12-game winner while looking to help the Cleveland Indians snap a three-game losing streak as they continue their road series with the first-place White Sox on Tuesday night.
Lee (11-1, 2.34 ERA) continued his resurgence from a poor 2007 season by allowing a run, four hits and striking out a career-high 11 in eight innings of a 4-1 victory over San Francisco on Thursday.
“Cliff has been incredibly consistent,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said of Lee, who is 5-0 in his last seven starts since losing at Cincinnati May 18. “He’s had an incredible year.”
Last in the AL Central, the Indians (37-46) hope to get a strong effort from Lee after their pitchers allowed 23 runs over the last three games.
Lee struggled against Chicago in one start last season, allowing seven runs in 5 1-3 innings of an 11-10 home loss on July 16. He also gave up three runs in two innings of relief against the White Sox in 2007.
Lee is 4-5 with a 6.44 in career 15 starts against the White Sox (47-35), who will try for an eighth straight home victory and sixth consecutive win overall after taking the series opener 9-7 on Monday.
Nick Swisher homered from both sides of the plate, highlighted by his second grand slam in four games for Chicago, which is averaging 9.6 runs during its current home winning streak. Swisher is batting .340 (16-for-47) with three homers and 13 RBIs in his last 14 games.
“If you ask any switch hitter, it’s very rare that you feel good from both sides of the plate at the same time,” said Swisher, who is 4-for-9 versus Lee. “I’ve been lucky enough. I just want to keep my same routines. … Keep eating the same meals I’ve been eating.”
Jim Thome hit a three-run shot for his second homer in as many games and Jermaine Dye extended his hitting streak to 11 games, batting .419 (18-for-43) with 18 RBIs during that span. Thome has hit six of his 16 homers this season versus Cleveland, where he played from 1991-2002.
“I didn’t quite have the command of my stuff I felt like I had in the last couple of games, but I I made the pitches I needed to make in key situations,” said Danks, who allowed fewer than three earned runs for the 13th time in 16 starts.
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA in five starts against the Indians. He allowed a run and two hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 loss at Cleveland on April 3.
Jhonny Peralta went a career-high 5-for-5 with homer and three RBIs on Monday for the Indians, who scored three runs in the ninth before losing for the sixth time in eight contests.
“We’re not looking for moral victories, but the flip side of that is we’re never going to cave and our guys didn’t,” said Wedge, whose club is 3-7 against the White Sox in 2008 and 10 1/2 games back of the AL Central leaders.
Peralta is hitting .439 (18-for-41) with a homer and nine RBIs in his last 10 games.