Chris Sale targets his 16th victory of the season and tries to get the Chicago White Sox back into the win column on Tuesday when they continue a four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Chicago had its six-game winning streak stopped on Monday, as Nate McLouth's two-run homer in the eighth inning lifted Baltimore to a 4-3 triumph. Lew Ford also homered for the Orioles, who are 24-6 in one run games this season.
"Winning close games down the stretch is huge," McLouth said.
Baltimore has won 15 of 21 games overall and is now tied with the Oakland Athletics for the top wild card spot, and also drew within 3 1/2 games of the American League East-leading Yankees, who lost in extra innings on Monday.
Pedro Strop (5-2) earned the win despite giving up a run in the eighth and Jim Johnson stranded a runner in the ninth to earn his 40th save of the season.
Baltimore, which has not finished with a winning season since 1997, could go 14 games over .500 with another win tonight for the first time since they were 42-28 on June 21, 2005.
Brett Myers (2-2) was pegged with the loss after giving up McLouth's go-ahead homer.
"It's a tough (loss), but we'll have to come back (Tuesday). That's the way it goes," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
With the loss Chicago saw its lead atop the AL Central trimmed to two games over idle Detroit.
The White Sox stand a terrific chance of bouncing back with Sale on the hill. The left-hander beat the Yankees with perhaps the best start of his career, as he allowed a run and three hits in 7 2/3 innings, while striking out 13 to improve to 15-4 and lower his ERA to 2.65.
Sale has now reached double digits in strikeouts four times this season, with a high of 15.
"That's one to build on," Sale said. "Just try to use it for my next outing."
Sale, who has already thrown a career-high 153 innings this season, will be making his first-ever start against the Orioles. He has faced them six times out of the bullpen and has allowed three runs in 5 1/3 frames.
Baltimore, meanwhile, will counter with righty Chris Tillman, who is 6-2 with a 3.71 ERA. Tillman beat the Texas Rangers last Tuesday, holding them to three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Tillman has split his two starts against the Orioles and has pitched to an 8.22 ERA in doing so.
Baltimore is 4-1 this season against the White Sox.