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Indians turn to Gomez in middle tilt with ChiSox

Jeanmar Gomez tries to carry over a terrific spring into his first start tonight when the Cleveland Indians continue a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field.

Gomez, who was 5-3 with a 4.47 earned run average in 11 appearances last season, was the Tribe's best pitcher this spring, going 1-1 wtih a 1.37 ERA in 19 2/3 innings of work to nail down the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

"I feel good, but that's just one step," Gomez said. "We need to continue to work hard every day. My slider was much better this year compared to two years ago. That helped me a lot with the hitters."

Gomez has had some success against the White Sox, as he beat them both times he has faced them, while pitching to a 2.25 ERA in those outings.

The White Sox, meanwhile, will pin their hopes tonight on righty Philip Humber, who is coming off a breakout season in 2011 that saw him go 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 28 games, 26 of which were starts.

Humber is 0-1 lifetime versus the Indians with a 6.91 ERA in five games (three starts).

Humber will be trying to match the effort of Chris Sale in the opener of this set on Monday. In his first big league start Sale tossed 6 2/3 strong innings to lead the White Sox to a 4-2 win.

Sale (1-0) gave up just one run on three hits while striking out five and walking two in his first career start. He threw 60 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

"I was a bit nervous," Sale said. "But I tried to channel that towards pitching. I tried not to be scared of pitching, but motivated,"

Hector Santiago gave up a run in the ninth, but still collected his second save of the season.

A. J. Pierzynski cracked a two-run homer and Alejandro De Aza added a solo shot for the White Sox, who bounced back from a 5-0 loss to the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Paul Konerko finished with a pair of hits and Brent Morel contributed an RBI single.

Josh Tomlin (0-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking one in five full frames.

Jose Lopez ripped a solo home run and Carlos Santana added an RBI single for the Tribe, who fell to 1-3 on the young season.

Chicago was 11-7 versus the Indians last season.