Chris Sale tries to snap a personal two-game losing streak on Friday when the Chicago White Sox open a four-game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Sale had won four consecutive decisions, but has lost in his last two trips to the bump. After suffering a hard-luck loss to Oakland on June 2, Sale lost again to the Athletics on Saturday, as he gave up four runs and five hits in 7 1/3 innings to fall to 5-4 on the year to go along with a 2.68 ERA.
"Just one pitch came back to bite me," Sale said. "It just kept going. It shows you how important one pitch can be in a ballgame."
He had allowed just a run in six innings in his previous start.
Sale tossed eight scoreless innings to beat the Astros the only other time he faced them.
Chicago, which will be starting a 10-game road trip tonight, has been playing well of late, but hasn't been on the field since falling to Toronto, 7-5, in 10 innings on Tuesday. Still, the White Sox have won three of their last four, but reside in the cellar of the American League Central, 7 1/2 games back of division-leading Detroit.
The White Sox are just 12-21 away from home this season.
Despite the loss on Tuesday, Chicago's bats have seemingly come to life. After crossing the plate 26 times in their previous 10 games, the White Sox have managed to score 26 over their last five, while swatting nine home runs.
That may not be good news for Houston lefty Erik Bedard, who takes the ball for the Astros trying to bounce back from a horrific showing his last time out. Bedard was torched by the Kansas City Royals for six runs and eight hits in only 4 2/3 innings to fall to 1-3 on the year, while raising his ERA to 5.34.
Bedard has faced the White Sox nine times and is 3-2 with a 3.90 ERA.
Houston comes into this series on a rare winning note following a wild win in Seattle on Wednesday that saw the club score six times in the ninth inning in a 6-1 win over the Mariners that snapped a six-game losing streak.
"We scored six in the ninth and we just haven't had the offense lately," said Chris Carter, who put the Astros ahead with a two-run double in the big frame. "That just shows we can do it and in a big situation like that, it's good for the team."
It was their first win in 38 chances when trailing after eight innings.
"It's never too late when you're able to put together a six-run inning, especially after the woes we've had the last two games," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Houston took two of three from the White Sox last season, but this is Chicago's first visit to Minute Maid Park since 2000.