Florida-born lefty Chris Sale goes for a sixth consecutive victory and a series win this afternoon when the Chicago White Sox close out a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Losers by a 4-1 decision in Monday's opener, the White Sox pulled even Tuesday when Gavin Floyd threw seven scoreless innings in a 3-2 triumph.
Floyd (6-7) scattered five hits and struck out nine without issuing a walk. Addison Reed allowed two runs in the ninth, but survived to notch his 10th save of the season.
"I think at first I was a bit off, but as the game got on I felt like my command got better," Floyd said. "I had a better feel for everything."
Alex Rios clubbed a two-run home run among his two hits and scored twice, while Alexei Ramirez went 2-for-3 with an RBI single for the ChiSox.
Jamey Carroll slapped a two-run single in defeat for the Twins, who had their modest two-game winning streak stopped. Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham added hits.
Liam Hendriks (0-5) allowed three runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings to absorb the loss.
Sale, the 13th overall pick by Chicago out of Florida Gulf Coast University in 2010, debuted in the majors with 21 relief appearances that year and made 58 trips out of the bullpen last season.
He was moved to the rotation this year and has responded with success, winning five decisions in seven starts since dropping a 5-0 verdict to Kansas City on May 12.
Sale downed the Twins in win No. 2 of the streak, tossing seven innings of scoreless, two-hit ball in a 6-0 victory.
In nine career meetings with Minnesota, Sale has allowed one run on seven hits in 16 innings, posting a stingy 0.56 earned run average and allowing a .130 opposition batting average.
He'll be opposed by 30-year-old righty Nick Blackburn, who's won four straight decisions since last losing on May 6.
That loss, his fourth of the season, came via 5-2 decision after he allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings against Seattle.
Since, he's beaten Toronto, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Cincinnati across six outings - including the 5-4 defeat of the Reds on June 22 in which he allowed four runs on five hits in five innings.
Blackburn has faced the White Sox 18 previous times and is 9-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 107 innings.
The teams split 18 games last season and the White Sox have not won a season series with the Twins since 2005. Earlier in 2012, Chicago took the final two games of a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field in May.