Freddy Garcia has given the New York Yankees everything they could have hoped for. On Monday, he tries to help the Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox for the seventh straight time at U.S. Cellular Field when the division leaders begin a three-game set in the Windy City.
These teams split four games in the Bronx earlier in the year, but the Yankees have won their last six in Chicago. It is New York's longest active road winning streak over a single opponent as well as Chicago's longest active home skid against any foe.
And that streak could be extended tonight with Garcia on the hill. The veteran right-hander, who helped the White Sox to a World Series title in 2005, has won his last three starts and defeated the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, holding them to two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 7-5, while lowering his ERA to 4.68.
Since rejoining the Yankees' rotation in July, the 35-year-old has posted a 5-3 mark with a 3.69 ERA. In eight of his nine starts over that stretch, he has allowed three runs or less.
"Ever since he came back from the bullpen, he's been tremendous," Yankees catcher Russell Martin said after that game. "I think part of it is he's gotten his velocity back. When his velocity is up, his pitches are a little sharper and a little crisper."
Garcia has faced the White Sox 12 times and is 5-5 with a 4.46 ERA.
New York won for the fifth time in seven chances on Sunday, as Ichiro Suzuki hit a pair of solo homers, Hiroki Kuroda tossed eight strong innings and the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 4-1.
Kuroda (12-8) gave up just one run on four hits while striking out four for the Yankees, who went 5-2 on a seven-game homestand. The Japanese right-hander was coming off a two-hit shutout in Tuesday's 3-0 win over Texas.
With Kuroda picking up the victory, the Yankees have three pitchers with at least 12 wins (also Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia) prior to Sept. 1 for the first time since 2006 when Chien-Ming Wang, Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina accomplished the feat.
Curtis Granderson knocked in a run and walked twice for the American League East-leading Yankees, who hold a five-game edge on the Tampa Bay Rays in the division.
While New York is cruising, Chicago is struggling and returns home tonight after a three-game sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals that culminated with a 5-2 setback on Sunday.
The White Sox, who didn't get their first hit until there were two outs in the seventh inning, were out-hit 11-3 in the loss and finished a seven-game road trip 3-4. Chicago still leads the AL Central by 1 1/2 games.
"It's absolutely disappointing," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said about the three losses to the Royals. "It's frustrating. It's brutal. I expect us to play better."
Tonight, Chicago will turn to righty Gavin Floyd, who is 9-9 with a 4.43 ERA. Floyd beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, as he held them to four runs (3 earned) and eight hits in six innings.
"Gavin came out throwing strikes," manager Robin Ventura said after the game. "He was great early on. He made the one mistake to Johnson, but he pitched great. He looked good."
Floyd lost to the Yankees back on July 1 and is 2-3 in eight games (7 starts) with a 6.07 ERA.