Participants from the 2005 World Series will collide this evening in the first of three straight interleague games, as the Chicago White Sox take on the Houston Astros from U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox recorded a four-game sweep of Houston back in 2005 to win their first World Series title since 1917. The two clubs met again in interleague play in 2007, when the Astros won two of three games in the Windy City. Chicago holds a 10-8 advantage against the Astros with a 7-5 home mark during interleague action.
Chicago has been riding high lately with 15 wins in its last 19 tries, and is 1 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland for the AL Central lead. The White Sox are 3-3 so far on a nine-game homestand and salvaged the finale of a three-game series versus Toronto with Thursday's 4-3 victory thanks to Orlando Hudson's RBI single that scored Dayan Viciedo with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
"I left the pitch a little bit up and he got a base hit and they won," said Blue Jays reliever Francisco Cordero. "You just have to make a better pitch."
Addison Reed got the win for the Pale Hose after tossing a scoreless top of the ninth, while starter Jake Peavy allowed three runs -- two earned -- in six innings of work. Alex Rios hit a two-run homer and knocked in three runs for the White Sox, who got two hits and a run scored from slugger Paul Konerko. Konerko leads the majors with a .371 batting average and missed some time after undergoing a procedure on his left wrist.
Chicago slugger Adam Dunn needs one home run to tie Harold Baines for 58th place all-time with 384.
Gavin Floyd draws pitching duties for the White Sox tonight and he is just 1-2 with an alarming 11.90 earned run average in his last four starts. Floyd did not record a decision on Saturday's 10-8 loss to Seattle and allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings. He hopes to even his 4-5 mark in 11 starts tonight and owns a 5.32 ERA.
The right-hander has never faced Houston in his career and is 4-2 in seven starts away from home this season. Floyd is 5-4 with a 2.43 ERA in 14 career interleague starts.
Houston will begin a nine-game road trip tonight against the White Sox, Giants and Rangers, and has dropped two straight and 10 of 12 games.
The Astros lost two of three meetings with St. Louis and suffered a 14-2 loss in Thursday's series finale, as J.A. Happ permitted four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings to absorb the loss. Rhiner Cruz did no better in an inning of relief, yielding five runs and three hits.
"I felt real good coming out and then in that third [inning] I just made it harder than it needed to be," said Happ. "They did a good job of fouling a lot of pitches off and battled and I let a couple of guys go."
Jed Lowrie homered and Chris Johnson knocked in the other run for Houston, which was outhit by a 16-7 count.
The Astros have lost six in a row away from Minute Maid Park and hope Wandy Rodriguez can alter those misfortunes when he takes the mound Friday. The left-hander is 1-0 in his last three starts with consecutive no-decisions and was hit fairly hard in Saturday's 12-9 loss to Cincinnati. Rodriguez struggled through five innings and gave up nine runs -- seven earned. He allowed seven runs, four of which were earned, in a 9-7 loss at Colorado on May 28.
Rodriguez is 4-4 in 12 starts to go along with a 3.14 ERA and lost his only start against the White Sox in a 6-3 setback on June 10, 2007. He was hit for five runs -- four earned -- over five innings in that one.
Houston is 108-125 against the American League and Chicago owns a 151-111 record against the Senior Circuit. It's the second-best winning percentage behind the New York Yankees (.592).