The Chicago White Sox eye an eighth straight road win this evening when they open a three-game interleague set with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The White Sox still sit atop the American League Central standings despite losing four of their last six. Chicago completed a nine-game homestand in disappointing fashion on Sunday, falling to the Houston Astros 11-9.
"We've beaten some teams this year that, you know, we caught off guard," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "Sometimes you catch teams and they kind of caught us this weekend. We had a good game yesterday, but they just did everything a little bit better."
Philip Humber (2-4) absorbed the loss and allowed six runs (5 earned) on six hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings, as the White Sox fell to 4-5 on the stand.
"It's hard to work your way out of it if you don't pitch," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Whether that's starting or in the bullpen, I don't know. It has to get better."
The White Sox, though, own the majors' best road mark at 17-9 and with a win tonight can win eight in a row away from home for the first time since a 12- game tear June 4-July 3, 2000.
Getting the call tonight for the Pale Hose will be lefty Jose Quintana, who is 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA. Quintana was dealt his first loss on Wednesday to Toronto, but pitched well, surrendering two runs and nine hits in six innings.
He's given up two runs or less in all three of his starts while filling in for the injured John Danks.
"He's going out there and he's making his way in the major leagues," pitching coach Don Cooper told the team's website. "I mean, this is stuff that's great to watch, see a kid go out there for the first time, get his first win, pitching well, trying to live his dream. That's good, that's not bad."
St. Louis, meanwhile, has not had much success lately and enters tonight's opener having lost eight of 12 after a dropping two of three over the weekend to the Cleveland Indians, culminating with a 4-1 loss on Sunday.
Carlos Beltran's National League-leading 18th home run of the season accounted for the only run of the game for the Cardinals, who have fallen two games off the pace of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
"I'd like to see us more consistent, there's no question," admitted St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. "The guys are grinding, they're fighting. I'm going to continue to stay optimistic because that's what I believe."
Hoping to get the Cards back into the win column tonight will be right-hander Adam Wainwright, who has won three of his last four starts. Wainwright was on the wrong end of Johan Santana's no-hitter two starts ago, but bounced back to beat the Houston Astros on Wednesday, limiting them to three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He also struck out eight and walked a batter, as he improved to 5-6 to go along with a 4.97 ERA.
This will be Wainwright's first start versus the White Sox.
St. Louis hasn't played the White Sox since it was swept by them back in 2006. This is the first meeting between the teams in St. Louis since the Cardinals broke the brooms out in 2001.