Trying to remain relevant in the AL wild-card race, the Chicago White Sox hope they're in the early stages of a needed surge.
After roughing up Seattle's ace, the visiting White Sox look for a third consecutive victory Saturday night against the Mariners.
One night after snapping a seven-game road skid with an 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago (57-63) got to Felix Hernandez for four runs and nine hits in Friday's 11-4 victory. Carlos Sanchez had four RBIs and fellow rookie Tyler Saladino delivered three hits for the White Sox, who have scored two fewer runs in the last two games than they did in the previous eight.
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"A nice job of going to the plate and making stuff happen," manager Robin Ventura said.
The White Sox have closed within five games of the AL's final wild-card spot, but they have six teams ahead of them in the standings. Making up that amount of ground with that much traffic in the way might seem like a tall order, but all hope is not lost within the organization.
Chicago has already posted winning streaks of six and seven games during this rather disappointing season.
"We all entered this year with high hopes and high expectations and, to date, we have not met them yet," general manager Rick Hahn told MLB's official website. "There's still time to potentially meet them."
Sanchez is batting .412 with 11 doubles and nine RBIs in his last 20 road games. Saladino has five hits and three RBIs in the last two contests after going 1 for 9 in the previous three.
The White Sox look to take further advantage of a Mariners pitching staff that's allowed 105 hits, walked 28 and posted a 9.53 ERA during the club's current 2-5 stretch.
That trend might continue when Seattle (56-66) hands the ball to Vidal Nuno (0-1, 3.67 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three starts since joining the rotation earlier this month. The left-hander has yielded 19 hits, including five home runs, and failed to last more than five innings in any of those starts.
Pitching for the New York Yankees on May 24 of last year, Nuno gave up nine hits but three runs over seven-plus innings of a 4-3, 10-inning victory in his only start against the White Sox.
Chicago counters with rookie Carlos Rodon (5-5, 4.42), who is 1-1 with an 0.87 ERA in his last three road starts in which his teammates totaled four runs. The left-hander allowed his only two runs over than stretch on a pair of homers in eight innings of Monday's 2-1 loss to the Angels.
"After the first homer (in the second inning), the way he responded to it was great,'' Ventura said. ''He was really aggressive in the zone with all of his stuff, not just the fastball. He wasn't necessarily relying on his slider as much. He was going after it with his fastball, locating it and making it tough on them.''
Rodon will try to contain Nelson Cruz, who hit his major league-leading 37th home run Friday. Cruz has 16 homers and 23 RBIs while batting .381 in his last 28 games.