Since hitting the road more than a week ago, the Chicago White Sox haven’t lost.
They appear to have the right man on the mound to keep the winning streak intact.
After sweeping three-game series in Cleveland and Boston, Chicago (77-60) opened this four-game set with a 5-4, 10-inning victory Monday. The White Sox, who remained 3 1/2 games back of AL Central-leading Minnesota, tied it at 4-all on Alexei Ramirez’s(notes) two-out single in the eighth and took the lead in the 10th on a hit by A.J. Pierzynski(notes).
“Keep battling, not giving away at-bats. Nobody is panicking,” said Pierzynski, who is batting .411 with 13 RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak.
Chicago’s sudden surge on the road is somewhat surprising, considering it had lost six of its previous eight away from U.S. Cellular Field.
This is the first time the White Sox have reeled off seven straight victories on a single trip since June 12-18, 2000. They haven’t won eight in a row on a trip since a 10-game run Aug. 14-22, 1965.
Chicago is 5-1 in Detroit this season, and Garcia (11-5, 4.82 ERA) has had even greater success there.
Garcia is 8-0 with a 2.64 ERA in his last nine starts at Comerica Park with the White Sox winning each time. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.01 ERA in four starts versus the Tigers (68-70) this season and 9-1 with a 3.84 ERA in his last 13 outings against them.
This will be Garcia’s first start since giving up two runs and four hits in four innings before leaving with a tight back in Wednesday’s 6-4 win over the Indians. He has not complained of any problems since.
Konerko is hitting .421 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 11 games against the Tigers this season. Part of his success could be from not having faced scheduled starter Justin Verlander(notes) (14-8, 3.61), who has yet to pitch against the White Sox this year.
The Chicago first baseman is batting .118 with four singles and no extra-base hits in 34 at-bats against the Detroit ace.
Like Garcia, Verlander has also fared well at Comerica Park, going 7-1 with a 2.56 ERA in his last eight outings. He recorded a 1.62 ERA in winning both games against Chicago in Detroit last season.
Verlander is hoping to bounce back from a shaky outing in Minnesota, where he allowed six runs - three earned - and 10 singles over six innings in Thursday’s 10-9, 13-inning win.
The Tigers have split their four games since, and MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera(notes) is 3 for 18 with three RBIs in his last five. He hopes to get back on track against Garcia, whom he’s 8 for 19 with three homers lifetime against.