White Sox-Astros Preview

The Associated Press

It doesn't happen often, but the Houston Astros are on a bit of a roll.

They'll go for their fifth victory in seven games when they host the Chicago White Sox in the finale of this three-game series Sunday.

Houston (15-28) has the worst record in the AL, but it's played rather well over the last week. Dexter Fowler, batting .471 over his last five, went 3 for 4 with a solo homer and an RBI single in Saturday's 6-5 win.

Jason Castro hit a three-run homer in the first inning for the Astros, who have totaled 11 hits in six of their last seven after reaching double digits eight times through their first 36 contests.

The Astros' 4.70 ERA is the worst in the league - below Chicago's 4.69 mark - but they've posted a 3.17 ERA over their last six. They'll look continue that solid stretch as Brad Peacock takes the mound in this contest.

Peacock (0-4, 5.63 ERA) has a 5.02 ERA in five starts this season, but impressed manager Bo Porter in his latest outing Monday. He allowed four runs in six innings and struck out a career-best 11 in a 4-0 loss to Texas.

''He had late life to his fastball,'' Porter said. ''His breaking ball was really sharp. I felt like he threw the ball tremendous.''

Peacock has never faced the White Sox (21-23), losers of five of seven. Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez had two hits apiece Saturday, but rookie Jose Abreu went 0 for 3 with an RBI groundout.

Abreu, the major league leader with 15 homers and AL leader with 42 RBIs, has batted .154 with 12 strikeouts over his last seven. He's 0 for 7 in the series, though he's been the designated hitter in both contests as he nurses a sore left ankle.

Paul Konerko pinch-hit for Abreu in the seventh, but manager Robin Ventura removed the veteran and said Konerko took an awkward last swing.

''It just looked like he might do something else that would injure something else, so we took him out as a precaution right now," Ventura said.

Chicago will look to get back on track as John Danks takes the mound seeking his third straight solid outing.

Danks (3-3, 4.88) has allowed three runs over six innings in each of his last two starts. He beat the Chicago Cubs 8-3 on May 7 before falling 5-4 to Oakland on Monday.

The left-hander is 1-2 with a 5.55 ERA in four road outings, and he's dropped both of his career starts against the Astros with a 5.40 ERA. He lost 4-3 in Houston on June 15, giving up four runs in six innings.

Danks allowed homers to Castro and Chris Carter in that game. Carter had his six-game hitting streak snapped Saturday as the Astros won for the fourth time in the last six home meetings with the White Sox.

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