Ubaldo Jimenez tries to win his third straight start on Saturday when the Cleveland Indians continue a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
After throwing six scoreless innings to beat the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 3, Jimenez was again brilliant against the Kansas City Royals on Monday, as he gave up just an unearned run and struck out 10 over seven innings to run his record to 11-9, while lowering his ERA to 3.62.
Jimenez has struck out at least 10 batters in three of his last four starts and has pitched to a 1.71 ERA with 42 strikeouts over his last five turns, spanning 31 2/3 innings.
"I've been feeling pretty good," said Jimenez, who is 1-3 with a 6.10 ERA in seven starts versus the White Sox. "Pretty much, I get ahead, stay ahead and get people out. That's what I've been doing. It's been really nice."
Cleveland may need some length from Jimenez on Saturday, as it used eight pitchers in a 3-1 victory on Friday.
Ryan Raburn, Drew Stubbs and Michael Brantley each knocked in a run, while Bryan Shaw (4-3) earned the win after tossing scoreless frames in the fifth and sixth innings.
Starter Danny Salazar fanned nearly every batter that made an out against him, as the young righty struck out nine over 3 2/3 frames. He allowed four hits and walked two in the 78-pitch outing.
Chris Perez stranded runners at first and second in the ninth, securing his 24th save to keep the Tribe 1 1/2 games back of Tampa Bay for the second wild card spot in the American League.
Hector Santiago (4-9) was charged with all three runs over four innings as Chicago dropped its 13th game in 15 matchups with Cleveland this season.
"He's probably a little tired," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura about his starter. "I imagine that's part of it, as far as being able to locate and getting into too much trouble."
On Saturday, Chicago will hand the ball to rookie Andre Rienzo, who is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Rienzo was terrific in beating Baltimore on Sunday, as he ended his team's nine-game losing streak and held the Orioles to a run and four hits over 6 2/3 innings.
"The one thing on my mind today is I wanted to make the losing streak over," Rienzo said. "Nobody likes to lose. The clubhouse is more happy when we win."
The Sox have lost 10 in a row to the Tribe and are just 2-13 against Cleveland this season.