Having finally run into an outstanding stretch at the plate, Adam Dunn probably would have preferred playing the last couple of days.
The slugger hopes to keep swinging a hot bat and lead the well-rested Chicago White Sox to their fourth win in five games Friday night at Minute Maid Park when Chris Sale takes the mound against the Houston Astros .
Behind Dunn and a resurgent offense, the White Sox (28-35) have scored 26 runs while hitting nine homers over their last five games after totaling 26 runs and one home over their previous 10.
Dunn went 8 for 15 with four homers and seven RBIs to help Chicago win three of four before Wednesday's rainout and Thursday's scheduled day off.
Dunn, among the major league strikeout leaders with 79, has whiffed only three times in his last four contests while raising his batting average from .156 to .182.
He'll likely get a chance to continue that production despite facing left-hander Erik Bedard in the opener of this four-game series.
Though he's 5 for 50 against southpaws this season, Dunn has been in the lineup the last seven times the White Sox have faced a lefty starter in an AL park. He went 2 for 3 with a homer off Oakland's Tommy Milone on Saturday.
Dunn, however, is 0 for 3 with two strikeouts lifetime against Bedard (1-3, 5.34 ERA), who looks to regroup from one of his worst outings of the season.
After going 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA over his previous five starts, Bedard matched a season high by allowing six runs and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 7-2 loss at Kansas City on Saturday.
Bedard has faced the White Sox just once since 2009.
Houston (23-44) looks to get a winning streak started after rallying for six runs in the ninth inning Wednesday to stop a six-game losing streak - during which it had totaled seven runs - with a 6-1 victory over Seattle.
The Astros, who hadn't scored in their previous 17 innings, won for the first time in 38 chances when trailing after eight innings."It's never too late when you're able to put together a six-run inning, especially after the woes we've had the last two games," manager Bo Porter said.
The White Sox will give the ball to Sale (5-4, 2.68) as they seek their sixth win in nine meetings in Houston, including two victories there in the 2005 World Series - their most recent visit.
Sale, who had his start pushed back following Wednesday's rainout, is the first of four consecutive southpaws they'll throw at the Astros in this series, with John Danks , Hector Santiago and Jose Quintana to follow.
Houston ranks among the majors' top 10 with a .274 batting average versus lefties, but has hit .224 against them since May 26.
Sale is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts since missing time because of mild tendinitis in his left shoulder.
"It's nice to get back out there and just be a part of the rotation again," he told MLB's official website. "Obviously, there are going to be some things that are going to come up that we're going to have to handle."
Sale yielded four hits over eight shutout innings in a 10-1 win last June 9, his only career appearance against the Astros.
|Chicago White Sox|
|June 05, 2013||Jake Peavy||15-Day DL||Fractured rib - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 04, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Left game - Rib pain|
|May 30, 2013||Dewayne Wise||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 22, 2013||Chris Sale||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|May 02, 2013||Dewayne Wise||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|May 02, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|May 26, 2013||Edgar Gonzalez||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|May 21, 2013||Bud Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back spasms|
|May 13, 2013||Bud Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - Back spasms|
|April 24, 2013||Justin Maxwell||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|April 20, 2013||J.D. Martinez||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|April 20, 2013||J.D. Martinez||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Astros overcame a dominate outing by Chris Sale by taking advantage of a pair of defensive miscues that helped them to a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Erik Bedard pitched six solid innings, and Jose Altuve hit a go-ahead RBI single to help the Astros to the victory.
Alexei Ramirez committed two errors in the fifth inning to help the Astros take the lead. The errors ruined a great outing by Sale (5-5), who allowed five hits and no earned runs with a season-high 14 strikeouts in eight innings.
Sale had retired 11 of 12 before Ronny Cedeno reached with no outs in the fifth on the first error by Ramirez.
Cedeno advanced to second on a wild pitch by Sale with two outs before Trevor Crowe drew a walk. The second error by Ramirez came when he badly overthrew second base on a force play, which allowed Brandon Barnes to reach, Crowe to move to third, and Cedeno to score.
Houston took a 2-1 lead when Altuve singled on a sharp grounder that scored Crowe.
"That is what you call straight effort baseball," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "Guys just legging out infield hits and giving it everything they have hustling on the bases. Just an all-around tremendous job against one of the more dominant pitchers in our league."
Barnes raved about Sale and was glad the Astros were able to pounce on Chicago after the errors.
"When a guy is in scoring position, that's when you've really got to lock in and try to make something happen," Barnes said. "We put some balls in play in the right spots, and that's when things happened."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura was disappointed that his team wasn't able to help back up Sale's performance.
"It's obviously frustrating to lose when you get a pitching performance like that," Ventura said. "Chris threw great. They just had an inning where they scored a couple runs and never hit the ball out of the infield. It's a tough one as far as the way he pitched, and you want to get better."
Bedard (2-3) yielded three hits and one run with six strikeouts to bounce back from his previous outing when he allowed six runs in 4 2-3 innings.
Jose Cisnero and Travis Blackley combined to pitch two scoreless innings before Jose Veras threw a scoreless ninth for his 12th save.
Sale was pitching on extra rest after he was scheduled to start Chicago's game against Toronto on Wednesday, which was postponed due to bad weather. He took a third straight loss despite coming just one strikeout shy of his career best of 15.
Ramirez didn't speak to reporters after the game, but was visibly distraught when the group entered the clubhouse. He remained in his uniform, sitting motionless at his locker with his head buried in his hands.
Sale called Ramirez "one of the best" after the game and said no one can be perfect all the time.
"I went over there and tapped him on the shoulder and said: `Hey, you're still the best. Stuff happens. Derek Jeter makes errors. Things happen to great players sometimes,"' Sale said.
The White Sox, who entered the game having won three of four, continued to struggle on the road and have dropped 10 of 11 away from Chicago. They have been outscored 62-34 in that span.
Paul Konerko doubled to start the fourth inning and advanced to third on a passed ball by Carlos Corporan . The White Sox took a 1-0 lead when Konerko scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Dunn .
Casper Wells walked to start the fifth inning and got to third on a single by Ramirez with two outs. The White Sox came up empty when Bedard struck out Alex Rios to end the inning.
Bedard got into trouble in the second when he loaded the bases on a single by Wells with two outs, but he escaped the jam by striking out Tyler Flowers .
Before his tough fifth inning, Ramirez robbed Chris Carter of a hit when he made a leaping catch on a sharp liner to end the fourth.
NOTES: The White Sox are scheduled to start left-handers in each of the four games of this series. It will be the first time Houston has faced four straight left-handers since September 2002 when they faced two from the Dodgers followed by two against Colorado, according to information provided by the Astros from the Elias Sports Bureau. ... The series will continue on Saturday when Houston's Lucas Harrell opposes John Danks . ... OF Alejandro De Aza was out of the lineup on Friday because of a stomach problem. Ventura said he was sent to a hospital in Houston to be checked out. "There's nothing major ... going on," Ventura said. "I don't know what it is. I just know he wouldn't be able to start tonight."... Houston OF Justin Maxwell , on the disabled list with a broken bone in his left hand, is on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Porter said there is no timetable for his return to the team. ... Houston signed four picks from this year's draft on Friday. They were fourth-round pick 1B Conrad Gregor, sixth-round pick C Jacob Nottingham, 21st-round selection OF Jon Kemmer, and 38th-round pick OF Ronnie Mitchell.