A's Start Three-Game Series At Home Against White Sox

(Sports Network) - Though they still own the best record in baseball since June 9, the Chicago White Sox have hit a bit of a rough patch of their last few games. The timing couldn't be worse for starter Mark Buehrle, who has yet to taste success in Oakland.

Buehrle aims for his first ever victory at the Coliseum tonight as Chicago visits the Athletics for the opener of a three-game series.

The White Sox are an MLB-best 28-9 since June 9, turning a 9 1/2-game deficit for first place in the American League Central into a two-game edge over the Tigers and Twins.

However, Chicago has lost four of six since winning nine straight and 22 of 26, and failed to secure a three-game sweep of Seattle thanks to Wednesday's extra-inning loss. The White Sox broke a scoreless game with Omar Vizquel's RBI two-out single in the top of the 11th inning, but closer Bobby Jenks surrendered a two-run single to Franklin Gutierrez in the home portion of the frame.

"That was good baseball. Unfortunately, we finished like that," said Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen, whose club allowed just three runs in the series.

White Sox starter Gavin Floyd yielded just five hits and struck out six over seven scoreless innings in the no-decision.

The White Sox would love for Buehrle to duplicate that performance tonight, but the left-hander is 0-6 with a 4.66 earned run average in 12 career outings -- including 10 starts -- at Oakland Coliseum. Buehrle has also lost his last four decisions versus the Athletics since his last win over the club on May 24, 2006, In 24 career games versus the A's, all but four of those starts, he is just 3-12 with a 3.93 ERA.

The 31-year-old is 8-8 with a 4.18 ERA this season and won five of six starts before the All-Star break. He suffered a loss to the Twins on Saturday, though, allowing three runs on nine hits over a season high-tying eight innings. It marked Buehrle's seventh straight start of allowing three runs or fewer.

Buehrle is catching an Oakland club that has won seven of its last eight contests, including Wednesday's 6-4 victory over Boston in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Jack Cust and Matt Watson both homered in the win, with Watson hitting the first homer of his career. Rajai Davis had two RBI and Gio Gonzalez threw six innings of four-run ball for Oakland.

"It's really encouraging. That's still a good [Red Sox] team over there although they've had some injuries," Cust said. "We've faced some good pitching and that lineup has quality at-bats. We're just going to try and build off this and face the next series."

Oakland will try to do that behind the rolling Trevor Cahill, who has won eight of his last nine decisions and owns just one loss over his last 12 starts, with the A's going 10-2 in that span.

Cahill is 9-3 with a 3.19 ERA on the season and lost to the Yankees on July 6 after giving up six runs over six innings, but he rebounded to best the Angels five days later by allowing just one unearned run over seven frames. The 22- year-old righty then earned a no-decision at Kansas City on Saturday, getting drilled for five runs -- all in the second inning -- on five hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings of a 6-5 Oakland win.

Cahill is 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA in seven home starts this year and owns a career 4.30 ERA versus the White Sox without a decision in three starts.

These two clubs are meeting for the first time since the A's took five of the nine matchups a season ago. Oakland did lose two of three to Chicago at home, though.

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