The Chicago White Sox hope they’ve finally gotten their anemic offense in gear.
The White Sox will look to stay hot at the plate Tuesday when they continue a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics at U.S. Cellular Field.
Chicago (22-19) ranks last in the majors with 311 hits and last in the American League with 168 runs and a .230 batting average. However, the White Sox have scored 24 runs and picked up 35 hits in winning two of their last three games.
They set a season high with 14 hits in Monday’s series-opening, 8-5 win. Rob Mackowiak hit a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning, Darin Erstad went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Paul Konerko added three hits and three runs.
“I really have had a lot of good at-bats a lot of times this year, just not finishing off with a hit and that’s the hard part,” said Konerko, who boosted his batting average 13 points to .214. “The team is still grinding and we’re right in the middle of the season. I have always said we’ll talk about it in November—the final product, the numbers in all that.”
Erstad, who boosted his average 11 points, leads the White Sox despite hitting just .269. Still, manager Ozzie Guillen is optimistic about his offense.
“The middle of the lineup is starting to pick up a little bit,” Guillen said. “The hits come in bunches and I still believe we’re going to be a good-hitting ballclub.”
Oakland (22-22), meanwhile, lost for the fourth time in six games. Nick Swisher went 3-for-5 and drove in all of the Athletics’ runs.
Rookie right fielder Travis Buck left in the third inning with soreness in his right elbow, and center fielder Milton Bradley, who came off the DL on May 11, missed his seventh consecutive game because his left hamstring is still bothering him.
“He’s close but he’s still not ready yet,” manager Bob Geren said. “He just felt it a little bit still.”
White Sox third baseman Joe Crede, who left Sunday’s win over the Cubs with tightness in his lower back, did not play and will be re-evaluated Tuesday. However, designated hitter Jim Thome was back in the starting lineup after being on the DL with a rib cage injury. He was activated before Sunday’s game and drew a walk in a pinch-hit appearance.
White Sox rookie John Danks (2-4, 4.10 ERA) will try to win his third straight start on Tuesday. Danks gave up two runs over 6 1-3 innings and struck out a career-high seven in a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
“He’s not afraid. He comes right after guys,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
The left-hander, who has pitched at least six innings in four straight starts, will face Oakland for the first time.
The Athletics will call up Colby Lewis from Triple-A Sacramento. Lewis has made 33 career starts, all for Texas between 2002-04, going 11-11 with a 6.75 ERA in those outings.
Last season, he made just two relief appearances for Detroit in August, allowing one run in three total innings. Since the beginning of the 2004 season, he has made only five major league appearances.
“Our Triple-A staff said he’s thrown very well,” Geren said. “He has pretty good command and he has big league experience. They felt he was pitching the best and would be the right guy.”
Lewis is 1-1 with a 5.51 ERA in four career appearances, including two starts, against the White Sox.
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