The Chicago White Sox hope to continue their offensive onslaught this evening when they continue a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field.
After managing just two runs in losing the final two games of their four-game set with the New York Yankees over the weekend, the White Sox' offense exploded in Tuesday's opener, as Kevin Youkilis smacked his first homer with the team, while Chris Sale tossed 7 1/3 solid innings to nail down the win in a 19-2 rout.
Sale (10-2) surrendered a run on five hits and a walk to get the win. The 23- year-old left-hander is 7-0 with a minuscule 1.67 ERA over his last nine starts, making him a legitimate candidate to start next week's All-Star Game in Kansas City.
"He pitched, changed speeds, didn't just use his fastball," said Texas manager Ron Washington, who will skipper the AL squad next week. "We didn't do much against him ... that's why he's 10-2, he's a pretty good pitcher."
Youkilis and Adam Dunn cracked back-to-back long balls in a three-homer opening frame. Alex Rios tallied the other, and A.J. Pierzynski cracked a round-tripper as part of a nine-run fifth for the AL Central leaders, who have won seven of their last 10 games. They racked up a season-high 21 hits in the blowout win.
"Great for our lineup, great for our team to have him in here," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Youkilis. "You get a lot more than just numbers...you get a good player that people feed off of and he makes your team better in a lot of ways."
In his first home game with Chicago since his trade from Boston on June 24, Youkilis had three hits and drove in four.
Roy Oswalt (2-1) was shelled for a career-high 11 runs -- nine earned -- on 13 hits and a walk in just 4 2/3 innings. The 34-year-old had won his first two starts despite giving up at least nine hits in each outing.
Despite the poor start, Oswalt remained optimistic.
"I feel better, third game back," Oswalt said. "I feel better and better every time I go out there ... velocity is coming back ... I kept the ball down a little more."
Hoping for similar support tonight the Rangers turn to righty Scott Feldman, who has won his last two starts after dropping six in a row. Feldman defeated the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, holding them to four runs over five innings. He's 2-6 on the season with a 6.13 ERA.
Feldman has faced the White Sox 11 times (5 starts) and is 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA against them.
Chicago, meanwhile, will turn to righty Dylan Axelrod, who is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Axelrod pitched well enough to get the win on Thursday against the Yankees, but received a no-decision, as he allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings of his team's 4-3 win.
This will be his first appearance against the Rangers.
Texas took two of three from the White Sox earlier in the season.