The Chicago White Sox hope ace Chris Sale can snap out of his recent funk when he toes the rubber Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins in the middle portion of a three-game series at Target Field.
Sale has lost each of his previous three starts since a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0) and suffered a tough-luck defeat at Houston in last Friday's 2-1 loss. Sale allowed two unearned runs in eight innings, but did strike out 14 batters, one off his career high.
The left-hander has been dominant despite the recent losses and has only surrendered five runs in his last five trips to the hill. Sale is 5-5 with a 2.43 earned run average in 12 starts and 2-4 in seven road assignments. In 11 career games (3 starts) against the Twins, Sale is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.93 ERA. He sports a 2-0 mark in six career games (2 starts) at Target Field.
Twins starter Kevin Correia will oppose Sale on the mound and has recorded three straight no-decisions.
Correia tossed five innings of one-run ball in last Thursday's 3-2 loss to Philadelphia and added six strikeouts to one walk. He is 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 13 starts and 3-1 in seven home outings.
The right-hander faced the White Sox for the first time in his career on May 14, when he took the 4-2 loss at Target Field for allowing four runs and nine hits in seven innings of work.
Minnesota took the upper hand in this series with Tuesday's 7-5 win over the White Sox. The Twins blew a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but broke a 5-5 tie with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Ryan Doumit stroked a two-run double to score Clete Thomas and Joe Mauer with two out, while Twins closer Glen Perkins fanned two batters in a perfect ninth for his 17th save.
"It was nice to be the guy who came up with the big hit," Doumit said. "Hats off to Clete and Joe for getting on base there. So it was a good team win."
Mike Pelfrey started for Minnesota and allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings. Mauer finished 3-for-5 with a home run, double and two RBI for the Twins, winners in four of the seven games on this nine-game homestand.
Paul Konerko went 4-for-4 and Conor Gillaspie hit a two-run homer for the White Sox, who have dropped 13 of their last 15 on the road since May 18 and are just 5-15 in the previous 20 games overall. The White Sox ended a four- game slide with Monday's win over Houston.
"If you broke it all down, it was pretty even, it was just the one hit there at the end that did it," Konerko said. "Everything was even probably besides that."
Dylan Axelrod started for Chicago and did not factor in the outcome, as he allowed five runs -- four earned -- and 10 hits in six innings. Ramon Troncoso was responsible for Doumit's big hit in the eighth.
Minnesota is 4-2 against Chicago this season after losing the 2012 series by a lopsided 14-4 margin.