The White Sox have never defeated Harrison, who will try to become the AL's first 12-game winner with his eighth straight victory Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Chicago (44-37) is in search of its first three-game sweep of Texas (50-32) since Aug. 14-16, 2001. The White Sox have already ended the Rangers' hopes of winning an eighth straight series.
Harrison (11-3, 3.16 ERA) presents a major challenge, especially since he's 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA in six career starts against Chicago - with scoreless outings in all three wins. He yielded four hits over six innings in a 5-0 victory April 8.
The White Sox are 8-13 against left-handed starters, and Harrison is 7-0 with a 1.73 ERA in his last nine outings. His streak of seven straight winning decisions matches the one he had from Sept. 4, 2011-April 21, 2012, as the third-longest in franchise history by a southpaw behind runs of nine (2005) and eight (2004) by Kenny Rogers .
Harrison gave up two runs over eight innings Friday to earn a 4-3 victory over Oakland. He's a candidate to start next week's All-Star game in his first appearance.
"I'm just glad to be a part of this and continue to do what I'm doing," Harrison told the Rangers' official website.
If there's a reason to believe Harrison could be vulnerable Thursday, it's his 6.52 ERA in five starts in day games.
The White Sox won for the sixth time in eight games Wednesday as Kevin Youkilis was the hero of a 5-4, 10-inning win. The newly acquired third baseman singled in the winning run in the 10th, improving to 5 for 10 with five RBIs in this series.
"I had a little rut baseball-wise and statistically and a funk and hopefully this will be a thing where I can keep going forward and playing better ball," Youkilis said.
The Rangers are looking to avoid their first four-game slide since May 29-June 2. Josh Hamilton drilled his 26th homer, but Texas managed two hits while failing to score over its final seven innings at the plate.
"When you pitch there won't be any good hitting and that's the way it is," manager Ron Washington said. "We had opportunities and we just didn't cash them in."
Hamilton owns a .374 career average against Chicago for his highest against an AL foe. He's 8 for 17 in the season series this year as Texas has dropped three of five.
Chicago rookie Jose Quintana (3-1, 2.19) will make his eighth start Thursday. He yielded a total of six runs in his first six before allowing that many over six innings Friday, although he got credit for a 14-7 road win over the Yankees.
The left-hander entered that outing with a 16-inning scoreless streak before giving up four runs in the first inning. He has never faced the Rangers.
|June 26, 2012||Mark Lowe||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal muscle|
|June 24, 2012||Colby Lewis||15-Day DL||Right forearm tendinitis|
|June 24, 2012||Matt Harrison||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hip soreness|
|June 20, 2012||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|June 16, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Intestinal virus|
|June 14, 2012||Koji Uehara||Day-to-Day||Strained right lat muscle|
|Chicago White Sox|
|June 29, 2012||Brian Bruney||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|June 29, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Left game - upset stomach|
|June 24, 2012||Jesse Crain||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 17, 2012||Philip Humber||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 13, 2012||Adam Dunn||Day-to-Day||Sprained ankle|
|June 04, 2012||Kosuke Fukudome||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
CHICAGO (AP) -- You might need a separate roster to keep track of all the rookies playing for the Chicago White Sox. There are 10 of them right now, nearly half of the clubhouse, and their contributions have been pivotal.
Without first-year standouts such as Jose Quintana and Addison Reed , the White Sox might not be on top in the AL Central.
Quintana pitched brilliantly for eight innings in searing heat and the White Sox beat the Texas Rangers 2-1 to complete a three-game sweep Thursday in the meeting of division leaders. Reed got the final three outs for his 12th save in 13 chances just as a thunderstorm was hitting U.S. Cellular Field.
Veteran Kevin Youkilis , meanwhile, continued his tear with a go-ahead homer off All-Star Matt Harrison and played a key role in the entire series.
"I just drank a lot of water for sure and tried to stay hydrated," said Quintana, who allowed only two hits in a game that started at 99 degrees and elevated to 102 by the fourth inning. "And the other thing was not trying to rush the game. I wanted to make sure I had quality pitches I was throwing."
Bouncing back from a rough outing against the New York Yankees , Quintana (4-1) walked one and struck out a career-high eight. He gave up a leadoff single to Ian Kinsler in the first and an RBI single to Adrian Beltre in the fourth on a line drive that hit the left-hander on the left thigh and bounded past first. He wasn't hurt and didn't give up another hit.
Quintana and Harrison worked quickly despite the sweltering conditions. The game was played in only two hours, nine minutes.
With four pitchers on the DL, including starters John Danks and Phil Humber, the 23-year-old Quintana's performance has been crucial, especially after he pitched most of the first two months in Double-A. He is now 3-0 over his last five starts.
"He has a great feel on the mound, great stuff. He's more mature than you would think," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "We're lucky in the situation we're in with Johnny going down; he was there to pick it up and pitch the way he has."
The loss was the fourth straight for the two-time AL champion Rangers, matching their longest skid of the season. Texas came into the series with the best record in the majors.
"We're in first place in the West. That's where we are," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That's what this series told us. We lost three ballgames, but we're in first place in the West."
Youkilis took Harrison deep in the sixth to break a 1-all tie, his sixth homer of the season and second since joining the White Sox in a trade from Boston last month. He's had quite a first homestand with his new team. He homered and had four RBIs in Tuesday night's opener and delivered a winning single and two stellar defensive plays at third on Wednesday.
"I haven't gotten too good of a feel for it yet," Youkilis said of U.S. Cellular, his new home park. "Hopefully the ball keeps jumping. We got guys with a lot of power, so hopefully it plays into that."
It was the first homer Harrison had allowed since June 3 and Thursday was his sixth start since that outing against the Angels. Harrison (11-4) gave up eight hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts in eight innings, getting the complete game. He had won his previous seven decisions.
"More humidity here, so it was pretty miserable out there. Trying to have as quick of innings as possible, except for the one," Harrison said. "I was able to get us back in the dugout pretty quick and get the guys out of the heat. It was a really quick game. I'm sure nobody wanted to be out there, but we have to do it, so you might as well make the best of it, I guess."
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on the two-out RBI single by Beltre when his liner struck Quintana near the left hip and ricocheted past Youkilis at first. Kinsler, who had walked and moved to second on a grounder, scored on the play.
Chicago got it back in the bottom half as a walk and two singles loaded the bases before Alexei Ramirez hit an RBI grounder that Beltre made a nice play on while diving to his left. Dayan Viciedo then walked to re-load the bases before Harrison fanned Tyler Flowers .
NOTES: Rangers RHP Yu Darvish won the Final Vote from the fans and will represent the AL in Tuesday's All-Star game, giving Texas eight All-Stars. Chicago's Jake Peavy was also a finalist. ... Announced attendance was 21,288 and many of the fans in the upper deck sat under the overhang to stay in the shade. ... Rangers RHP Neftali Feliz (elbow ligament sprain) and Koji Uehara (strained right lat) are scheduled to throw bullpen sessions Friday.