The Chicago White Sox have been nearly invincible at home for almost two months.
Their dominance over the Seattle Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field extends back much further than that.
No team has been better the last seven weeks than the White Sox (55-44), who are a major league-best 31-11 since June 9. They have gone from 9 1/2 games out of first place in the AL Central to a one-game lead on Minnesota.
Almost all of those 11 losses have come on the road, as Chicago has won nine straight and 16 of its last 17 at home.
The White Sox continued their home dominance Tuesday night with a second straight easy win over the Mariners, hitting three homers in an 11-0 victory. Alexei Ramirez(notes), Paul Konerko(notes) and Andruw Jones(notes) all connected as Chicago improved to 25-7 at U.S. Cellular Field against Seattle (39-62) since 2004.
Ramirez is 8 for 12 with five RBIs in his last three games after going hitless in his previous 12 at-bats.
“The team is inspired,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “Everyone just wants to win every day.”
Konerko is 12 for 30 with five homers in eight games this season against Seattle.
“We’ve got some guys swinging the bat well,” Konerko said, “and this park, when it gets hot, it’s good to hit in.”
The last-place Mariners have lost 18 of their last 24 games.
Seattle played Tuesday without center fielder Franklin Gutierrez(notes) (family issue) and lost third baseman Jose Lopez(notes) to a tight left hamstring in the second inning. Lopez and Gutierrez are the team’s top run producers.
Buehrle (9-8, 3.96 ERA) will try to pitch the White Sox to their first 10-game home win streak since April 15-May 4, 2006.
The Chicago ace started slowly this season, losing five straight decisions at one point, but has rebounded to go 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA in his last eight starts.
“As a starting pitcher you’re going to have so many good ones and then you’re going to have bad ones throughout the year,” Buehrle said. “I think I had so many bad ones at the beginning I’m due to go on a little streak here of good ones.”
He had another very good one in a 5-1 win at Oakland on Friday, scattering four hits in his second straight complete game.
Buehrle, who has issued three walks in his last 31 innings, tossed eight scoreless innings against the Mariners in his only appearance against them last season. He is 6-0 with a 3.34 ERA in eight home starts versus Seattle.
Jason Vargas(notes) (6-5, 2.94) looks to continue his consistent pitching for the Mariners. With Cliff Lee(notes) gone, Vargas has assumed the No. 2 spot in Seattle’s rotation. He has certainly earned the promotion. He ranks among the top 10 in the AL in ERA and has produced quality starts in eight of his last 10 outings.
Vargas was solid again Friday against Boston, allowing two runs over seven innings, but Seattle’s offense was shut down in a 2-1 loss.
The left-hander pitched 6 2-3 effective innings April 25 in his only career appearance at U.S. Cellular Field, leaving without a decision in a 3-2 loss.