(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers have been road warriors of late, but
another victory won't come easily against the surging Chicago White Sox when
the teams begin a three-game set Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Rangers, who lead Oakland by 2 1/2 games in the American League West
standings, are trying to tie a club record with their ninth straight road win
as they play 12 of their next 15 games as the visiting team.
"We've just played well on the road," manager Ron Washington said. "We expect
to play well at home, but it's nice to play well on the road. I hope we can
continue to play well."
Elvis Andrus delivered a ninth-inning sacrifice fly in Texas' 5-4 win over the
Astros on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep. The Rangers have won 12 of
15 since leading home run hitter Nelson Cruz (27 HR) received a 50-game
suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.
"That's how you can become consistent," Washington said. "If guys can just
keep going up there, putting the ball in play and finding holes and getting
base hits and we can keep going first to third, that's just playing right into
the game we want to play anyway."
The last-place White Sox have also found success recently on the road, where
they have won a season-best six in a row to wrap up a 6-1 trip. They are
coming off Thursday's 4-3 victory over Kansas City on Conor Gillaspie's solo
shot to lead off the 12th inning. Paul Konerko was scratched from the lineup
with light-headedness and his status for Friday is unclear.
Former White Sox players A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios are both making their
first visits to U.S. Cellular Field since joining the Rangers.
"It will be weird going into the visitors' clubhouse, but I'm looking forward
to going to the city," Pierzynski said. "I love the city, I love the
organization and I love the fans. Hopefully, we'll go in there and play well."
Chris Sale gets the start for Chicago in Friday's series opener. The left-
hander ranks fifth in the AL in ERA (2.78), but has only a 9-11 record to show
for it, as he is last in the majors in average run support.
However, the southpaw has earned victories in each of his last three outings,
including Saturday in Minnesota, where he allowed three runs in seven innings
and racked up eight strikeouts. He boasts a 1.93 ERA over his last three
starts after going 1-9 over his previous 11 outings.
For Texas, left-hander Martin Perez is also seeking his fourth victory in as
many tries. Like Sale, Perez yielded three runs over seven innings his last
time out. Unlike Sale, he did it by outpitching Seattle's Felix Hernandez and
also got five runs of support from his offense in the second inning.
"I have to keep working," Perez said. "I don't have to change my mentality
because we beat the Mariners and Felix Hernandez. I'm learning from every
The White Sox won two out of three when these teams met in Texas from April
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