Both the Chicago White Sox and LA Angels are on a postseason run and the two clubs will collide Friday in the opener of a three-game series from Anaheim.
The White Sox are hoping to capture an American League Central title and sit just two games ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the division standings. The Angels are still on the outside looking in at 4 1/2 games off the final wild card spot in the AL.
Chicago has dropped two in a row since a five-game winning streak and lost a three-game series to the Kansas City Royals. In Thursday's 4-3 setback at Kauffman Stadium, Francisco Liriano did not figure into the decision and allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings. Jesse Crain was charged with the go-ahead run in the ninth inning to absorb the loss.
Crain was replaced by Matt Thornton with two out in the frame and Eric Hosmer singled home Jarrod Dyson for the game-winning run. Dyson was pinch running for Billy Butler, who singled off Crain to start the inning.
"We just need to win ball games," Thornton said. "We have a two-game lead in the division with 13 games to go, so we've got to go out and win as many as we can to stay on top."
A.J. Pierzynski had two hits and an RBI, while Alexei Ramirez went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the White Sox.
Jake Peavy will take the mound for the White Sox Friday night and is coming off Sunday's 9-2 win at Minnesota. Peavy struck out six and allowed two runs in six innings of work, improving to 11-11 with a 3.26 ERA in 29 starts.
Peavy, a right-hander, was 1-4 in his previous five decisions before facing the Twins. He has made four career starts against the Angels, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA.
Meanwhile, the Angels will resume a nine-game homestand and lost two of three to Texas to kick off the residency. They dropped a 3-1 decision to the Rangers on Thursday, as Ernesto Frieri served up a two-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the top of the ninth inning.
Zack Greinke struck out eight and did not walk a batter in the start. He allowed just one run in eight innings.
"Zack pitched well, losses are tough now. They're tough anytime. The guys know they have to come out the next game with a sense of purpose," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Torii Hunter had the lone RBI in the setback for the Angels, who have lost six of their last 10 games.
Ervin Santana will try to pitch the Halos back into the win column when he takes the mound this evening. Santana was beaten by Oakland last Wednesday in a 4-1 defeat and was touched for two runs -- one earned -- in six innings. The right-hander is 8-12 in 28 starts to go along with a 5.08 ERA.
Santana is 4-4 with a 4.15 ERA in 14 career games (13 starts) against the White Sox. He faced them in a 6-5 win back on Aug. 4, when he did not record a decision and allowed three runs -- two earned -- in six innings.
Chicago has won three of five matchups with the Angels this season.