The Chicago White Sox are leading the majors in home runs, but even they have been hitting more than usual recently.
Chicago’s sluggers continue a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday after moving back into sole possession of first place in the AL Central.
The White Sox (71-53) reclaimed the division lead after beating Seattle (46-78) 13-5 on Monday. They had been tied with Minnesota since losing to Oakland on Friday.
Chicago, which had also scored 13 runs in a win over Athletics on Sunday, had 11 hits on Monday—six for extra bases (two doubles and four home runs). Carlos Quentin hit his major league-leading 35th homer and Alexei Ramirez, who hit a grand slam on Sunday, added a three-run homer in the seventh and finished with four RBIs.
Orlando Cabrera and Nick Swisher also homered for the White Sox, who have hit 182 homers this season, including 33 in 17 games in August. They’ve hit four in each of the last two games and 14 in the last five games.
Quentin has seven this month and three in the last four games. He’s hitting .529 (9-for-17) with six RBIs in the last five games, and has 97 RBIs for the season.
Ramirez has three of his 13 homers in his last five games.
Jermaine Dye, who had two doubles on Monday, isn’t surprised by the power surge.
“Not at all. Those guys have put up numbers before,” Dye said. “Whether Quentin has done it in the minor leagues and Alexei has done it in Cuba, these guys are capable of being great ballplayers and they are doing a heck of a job for us this year.”
Starter Jarrod Washburn, meanwhile, gave up eight runs in 4 1-3 innings. The Mariners’ pitching staff has an 8.16 ERA in the last nine games and the starters are 0-6 with a 9.52 ERA during that stretch. In the last four games, no starter has pitched past the fifth inning.
“Our pitching was going good for quite a while and we were struggling with the bats,” Mariners interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “Now it seems like we’re getting 12 or 15 hits a night and the pitching is starting to struggle or has been struggling for a little while.”
Looking to give his bullpen some rest, Riggleman will hand the ball to Felix Hernandez (7-7, 3.04 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his last five starts. He pitched seven innings on Wednesday against the Angels, allowing four runs and eight hits in a 10-7, 12-inning win. Hernandez hurt his ankle in the seventh inning, but finished the frame.
“Felix did a heck of a job,” Riggleman told the Mariners’ official Web site. “His ankle is still a little tender, but at that point of the game, we took him out, not because of the ankle.”
The 22-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.01 ERA in four career starts against the White Sox.
Clayton Richard (0-2, 9.64) counters for Chicago in his fourth major league start.
Richard is making his first start since being called up from the minors on Friday. He made three starts from July 23-Aug. 3 in place of the injured Jose Contreras and allowed 19 runs—15 earned—over a combined 13 innings. With Contreras back on the disabled list, Richard was recalled. He made a relief appearance on Sunday, throwing one inning against Oakland, striking out two while not allowing a run or hit.
This is the left-hander’s first game against Seattle.
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