The Chicago White Sox have gotten plenty of production from unexpected sources, helping first-year manager Robin Ventura's club become one of baseball's biggest surprises.
Chris Sale gets another shot at win No. 15 as he looks to help Chicago earn its first home sweep of the New York Yankees in 21 years when the first-place teams conclude their three-game series Wednesday night.
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams has made some bold moves in the past two months, trading for Kevin Youkilis and Francisco Liriano while making other less-heralded additions, such as picking up Dewayne Wise.
All three contributed in Tuesday's 7-3 victory, as Youkilis hit a grand slam, Wise - designated for assignment by the Yankees on July 23 - went 4 for 5 and Liriano struck out seven in six innings to earn the win.
Youkilis has 11 of his 15 homers since being traded from Boston to the White Sox (67-55), who are two games ahead of Detroit in the AL Central race.
"It extends your lineup," Ventura said of having Youkilis batting second. "He's a tough at-bat. He sees a lot of pitches. All the things you want when a guy goes up there. He's seeing a lot of pitches and he's a good hitter.''
Sale (14-4, 2.72 ERA) also has been a pleasant surprise in his first season as a starter, and he'll look to win a seventh straight home decision while lifting Chicago to its first home sweep of the Yankees since Aug. 6-8, 1991 - the White Sox's first season at what's now known at U.S. Cellular Field.
The left-hander's three-start winning streak ended when he allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 defeat at Kansas City on Friday, but he hasn't lost at home since May 12 and is 6-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his last seven outings at U.S. Cellular.
Sale will be opposed by Phil Hughes, who has struggled greatly on the road this season but has had plenty of success against the White Sox.
Hughes (12-10, 4.23) is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in five career starts versus the White Sox after giving up two runs over eight innings in a 4-2 home victory July 1. He allowed three hits in six innings of a 6-0 win Aug. 2, 2011, in his last start in Chicago.
Hughes allowed four runs - all unearned - over seven innings of his 6-4 win over Boston on Friday, improving to 9-3 with a 3.42 ERA in 13 home starts this season.
The right-hander hasn't been nearly as good away from Yankee Stadium, going 3-7 with a 5.31 ERA. He's given up 11 runs in his last two road outings while failing to escape the fifth in either.
New York (72-51), which hasn't been swept by the White Sox since dropping all four games in the Bronx from June 15-18, 2000, has lost four of six but still leads the AL East by four games over Tampa Bay.
Derek Jeter hit the game's first pitch for a homer Tuesday - passing Eddie Murray for 11th place on the career hits list - but the Yankees mustered only six hits the rest of the way.
"We had some opportunities, (Liriano) just made some big pitches when he had to," manager Joe Girardi said.
- Chicago White Sox
- Kevin Youkilis
- Francisco Liriano