Now that Chris Sale no longer has the burden of trying to help end a season-high road slide for the Chicago White Sox, he can focus on continuing his recent dominance on the mound.
The All-Star left-hander looks to win a season-high third straight start Saturday night against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Sale (8-11, 2.73 ERA) was mired in an 11-start stretch where he went 1-9 with a 3.23 ERA and received an average 1.96 runs of support before allowing three runs in 16 1-3 innings to win the last two.
He recorded his fourth complete game of the season Monday when he gave up nine hits but two runs in a 6-2 win over Detroit.
“He’s in his own world,” Detroit’s Torii Hunter said. “He’s definitely the best lefty in the game.”
The White Sox (47-74) have scored five or more runs five times in the 22 starts by Sale, whose 2.73 run-support average is the lowest in the majors.
“Obviously, we wish we could give (Sale) a better record right now,” teammate Gordon Beckham said. “His numbers match up against everybody.”
Sale gave up two runs and 11 hits over 20 innings to win his first three career starts against the Twins last season, but yielded four and eight hits over five frames of a 7-4 loss at Minnesota on June 19.
He hopes for a better effort while trying to help Chicago build on Friday’s 5-2 victory over Minnesota (54-66) that snapped a 10-game road losing streak.
Adam Dunn hit his 28th homer as the White Sox pounded out at least 10 hits for the fourth time in five games to improve to 4-10 against the Twins this season.
“We haven’t had too many of those where we’ve hit them like that,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “It was nice.”
Dunn, batting .392 in his last 15 games, has hit .310 (9 for 29) with five home runs and 11 RBIs in eight contests at Target Field this season.
Dunn and the White Sox could be in for a stiff challenge against Minnesota’s Andrew Albers (2-0, 0.00), who has allowed six hits and walked one while throwing 17 1-3 scoreless innings in his first two career starts.
The Canadian left-hander, who turns 28 in October, threw a two-hitter in Monday’s 3-0 win over Cleveland.
“I’m not a prototypical prospect,” said Albers, who had Tommy John surgery in 2009 and was playing independent ball in Quebec in 2010 before the Twins signed him to a minor league contract in 2011.
“I’m not a guy that goes out there and lights up a radar gun or throws devastating secondary stuff. But I can pitch a little bit and so far I’ve been having a little bit of success.”
Joe Mauer homered for one of his three hits Friday, improving to 9 for 15 in his last three games.
He’s batted .404 with three homers against the White Sox this season, and is 3 for his last 8 versus Sale.