The Chicago White Sox have struggled at the plate at home this season. Their hitting stroke has been much better on the road.
Chicago looks to win its third straight road series Sunday at Miller Park where it takes on the slumping Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of the three-game interleague set.
The White Sox (29-34) evened the series with a 7-1 rout Saturday. Paul Konerko(notes) and rookie Gordon Beckham(notes) each had two hits and two RBIs, and Jose Contreras(notes) was sharp again, allowing two hits over eight scoreless innings.
He’s surrendered just three hits in 16 scoreless innings since returning from a monthlong demotion to the minors following an 0-5 start.
“When I went down, I knew I was going to come back up, but I never knew I was going to come back this strong,” Contreras said. “This is as strong as I’ve felt since 2005-06.”
While Contreras seems to have regained his form, Chicago is looking for more consistency from its lineup.
The White Sox hit .213 on a 4-8 homestand that ended Thursday, but are batting .328 while winning six of eight on the road, including series victories over the Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City.
Chicago is hitting .281 and averaging 4.9 runs in 29 road games. At home, the White Sox are batting .219 and scoring just 3.4 runs per game.
Konerko, who missed the previous two games with a thumb injury, needs two RBIs to reach 1,000 for his career. Beckham, picked eighth overall in last season’s draft, recorded his first two RBIs.
“Hopefully it’s the start of many to come,” said Beckham, batting .097 (3 for 31) since being called up from Triple-A Charlotte on June 4.
The Brewers right-hander was solid in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Colorado as he struck out seven and yielded two runs over six-plus innings. Looper, though, allowed consecutive doubles to Troy Tulowitzki(notes) and Carlos Gonzalez(notes) in a three-run seventh inning.
“I felt like I was keeping them unbalanced for a little while and it’s just unfortunate that last inning to give up those doubles,” he told the Brewers’ official Web site.
Looper will be making his first career start against Chicago. He pitched an inning of scoreless relief for St. Louis in a 13-5 loss to the White Sox on June 21, 2006.
Buehrle, who is 14-2 with a 3.21 ERA in his last 21 interleague starts, is set to make his first appearance against the Brewers since his major league debut July 16, 2000. Buehrle allowed a run and two hits in the ninth inning of an 11-5 win.
In his last start, the left-hander walked a season-high four and gave up a season-worst five runs in Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to Detroit in 10 innings.
Chicago has lost four of Buehrle’s last six starts after winning in each of his first six this season.
The NL Central-leading Brewers, meanwhile, have dropped five of six. The Brewers are batting just .226 while losing four of five on a homestand that ends Sunday.
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