Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Posted: 9:09 a.m.
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(AP) -- The Chicago White Sox can't blame their play on the road as the reason they've underachieved this season.
Having already secured a winning record away from home, the White Sox look for a third straight win over the Cleveland Indians to conclude the road portion of their schedule Thursday night.
A preseason favorite to win the AL Central, Chicago (76-79) instead is trying to surpass the Indians for second place in the division. While the White Sox's 33-42 record at home is one reason they'll miss the playoffs, they've been able to remain relatively competitive by going 43-37 away from U.S. Cellular Field. It's the second straight season they've posted a winning road record.
Chicago moved one-half game behind second-place Cleveland (76-78) with an 8-4 win Wednesday. Rookie third baseman Brent Morel hit a two-run homer and drove in three as the White Sox won for the third time in four games and improved to 6-2 at Progressive Field.
Morel has hit seven of his nine homers and driven in 17 of his 39 runs in his last 19 games.
Outfielder Alejandro De Aza added two hits with two RBIs and is 5 for 13 with six RBIs in this series. He's hit .350 with 20 RBIs in his last 32 games.
"Right now, he's our best player overall when it comes to fielding, running, hitting," manager Ozzie Guillen said of De Aza.
While Morel and De Aza continue to contribute, teammate Adam Dunn struck out twice Wednesday to increase his season total to 167. Dunn's strikeout total continues to be higher than his batting average (.166).
It's uncertain if Dunn will be in the lineup against scheduled Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez (4-2, 3.78 ERA), who is 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 30.
The right-hander has allowed two runs in each of his last two starts, the latest over 6 2-3 innings of a 10-4 win at Minnesota on Saturday. Gomez yielded two runs in six innings of an 8-4 win at Chicago on Sept. 9.
Travis Hafner hit a two-run homer Wednesday for the Indians, losers of three of four. The slugger is 6 for 18 with two home runs and eight RBIs in his last five contests.
Cleveland could have All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera back after he missed the last two games with a back strain. He's hitting .274 and set career highs with 24 homers and 87 RBIs this season.
"I think I'll be in there (Thursday) for sure," Cabrera told the Indians' official website.
Cabrera is 1 for 4 against Philip Humber (9-8, 3.59), who takes the mound for the White Sox trying to bounce back from his latest outing. The right-hander allowed two runs in 14 1-3 innings while going 1-0 in his previous three starts before he matched a season high by giving up six runs in six innings and did not factor in the decision of a 7-6 loss at Kansas City on Friday.
Humber has no record and a 2.45 ERA in two starts versus Cleveland in 2011
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