Jake Peavy tries to pitch the Chicago White Sox to a fourth straight win when they open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox enter Friday's matchup on the heels of an impressive three-game sweep of the New York Yankees, including a 2-1 win on Wednesday.
Chris Sale gave up just three hits and struck out 13 over 7 2/3 dominant innings in the finale, while Alex Rios' home run was the difference, as Chicago won for the sixth time in nine tries and now leads the American League Central by 1 1/2 games over the Detroit Tigers.
"Coming off of a tough series in Kansas City, I think it just goes to show what kind of guys we have in here," said Sale. "We didn't get down on ourselves. We came in and played some great baseball at home."
Peavy, meanwhile, is winless in his last three starts and lost to Kansas City his last time out. The All-Star right-hander was touched for five runs (3 earned) and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings of that one and fell to 9-9 on the year to go along with a 3.11 ERA.
"Tough night," said Peavy, who has lost four of his last six decisions. "The Royals are a scrappy bunch, and the ball just bounced their way tonight."
Peavy is 5-1 lifetime versus the Mariners with a 2.21 ERA in eight starts.
The Mariners will counter with lefty Jason Vargas, who is 13-8 with a 3.53 ERA. Vargas did not get a decision on Saturday against Minnesota, despite a solid effort that saw him surrender two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"I thought he pitched a real good ballgame," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "Not as sharp as we've seen him, but what's separated for Jason now is when he's not exactly locked in -- again, I still felt like he threw a real good ballgame -- he's still able to get people out and make pitches."
Vargas has faced the White Sox five times (4 starts) and is 0-1 with a 6.93 ERA.
While the White Sox are right in the thick of the postseason race in the AL, the Mariners are playing out the string, but an eight-game winning streak has gotten them within 6 1/2 games of a wild card spot.
Seattle capped a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, as Eric Thames' two-run double in the eighth inning propelled it to a 3-1 win.
"It's all about the big hits in big situations and big pitches in big situations and our pitchers are doing a great job getting ground balls when we need them and our hitters are coming up clutch and that's why this team is on a roll right now," Thames said.
Chicago has won five of six from the Mariners this season.