(Sports Network) - With Detroit and Minnesota nipping at their heels the Chicago White Sox will try to keep their small lead in the AL Central when they take on the Oakland Athletics this afternoon at the Coliseum.
One of the biggest reasons for Chicago's recent success has been the resurgence of Freddy Garcia who has won nine of his 17 starts for Chicago this season.
However, the right-hander has claimed just one win in his last four matchups. The last time Garcia was in action the veteran hurler held the Twins to just three runs, despite scattering 11 hits over six innings. Even though Garcia put forth a solid effort, the White Sox eventually fell to Minnesota, 7-6.
Garcia might be 5-1 in nine road games this season, but his record is deceiving considering his earned run average away from home is a lackluster 5.03 on the year.
This will be the 21st career start for Garcia against the Athletics, and in his career against Oakland, he has been nothing more than mediocre, posting just a 6-6 mark with a 4.98 earned run average.
The Athletics will turn to one of their young arms in Vin Mazzaro, as the right-hander will look to post his second straight victory. Mazzaro has pitched well in recent weeks, winning three of his last four starts, including a 9-6 victory over Kansas City in his last outing.
In the win over the Royals the New Jersey native tossed 7 2/3 impressive innings, surrendering just one run on seven hits, while also striking out five batters.
This will be just the second career start against Chicago for Mazzaro. In the only other showdown, the young hurler shut out the White Sox for 6 1/3 innings, scattering just three hits and walking four batters.
On Friday, Mark Buehrle pitched his second complete game of the season to earn his first career win in Oakland as the White Sox topped the A's, 5-1.
Buehrle (9-8) twirled a four-hitter, one a Jack Cust RBI double, and struck out two without issuing a walk. The veteran southpaw made it eight starts in a row allowing three runs or less and broke through for a win at the Coliseum in his 13th appearance and 11th career start there.
Buehrle bested an Oakland club that had won seven of its last eight games coming in and did so on the one-year anniversary of his perfect game against Tampa Bay.
Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski each had a pair of RBI in the win, Chicago's third in four games after dropping three straight. Alex Rios added two hits and an RBI.
Trevor Cahill (9-4) pitched seven innings in the start for Oakland, surrendering three runs (two earned) on only four hits and two walks. It was just his second loss in his last 13 starts, with the A's going 10-3 in that time.
Oakland won five of its nine matchups with the White Sox a year ago.