A season-best winning streak has propelled the Chicago White Sox to the top of the AL Central.
Looking for an eighth consecutive victory, the White Sox try to complete their first road sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays in almost five years Wednesday afternoon.
Philip Humber threw seven strong innings Tuesday for his first win since his April 22 perfect game, and Dayan Viciedo had three hits in Chicago's 7-2 victory. The White Sox (28-22) have won 11 of 12 - including a 2-1 triumph in Monday's series opener - to move one-half game ahead of Cleveland atop the Central.
Chicago, which has not won eight in a row since a nine-game run July 4-15, 2010, is batting .320 with 15 home runs and has outscored its opponents 61-27 during its seven-game winning streak.
"You're certainly pleased when you see what's transpired the last number of days," White Sox general manager Kenny Williams told the team's official website. "We're focused on the day to day. ... It's just all about the daily grind, and (now) we've got the Rays. We'll do the best we can."
Viciedo is 13 for 25 with four homers and 12 RBIs in the last six games, while catcher A.J. Pierzynski is hitting .417 with 12 RBIs in his last 12.
Paul Konerko had his 14-game hitting streak snapped after going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Tuesday, but is still batting . 386 on the season.
After Humber's strong start, the White Sox turn to rookie left-hander Jose Quintana (1-0, 1.54 ERA) as they attempt to sweep the Rays at Tropicana Field for the first time since June 26-28, 2007. In his second major league appearance and first career start in place of the injured John Danks, Quintana gave up two runs and four hits in six innings of a 9-3 win over Cleveland on Friday.
"He's a little more mature than you'd think he was even though he's coming out of Double-A, but it's exactly what we needed," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's still here, so that's a good sign."
The Rays (29-21) counter with Alex Cobb (2-0, 2.25), who looks to win his third straight start since being called up from Triple-A Durham to replace the injured Jeff Niemann. The right-hander overcame four walks in five innings Friday at Boston, allowing two runs and three hits in a 7-4 victory.
Cobb, 5-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 11 career starts dating to last season, makes his first appearance against the White Sox.
Despite Tuesday's outcome, Hideki Matsui's presence should help a Rays lineup that is without injured starters Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings. The veteran outfielder, who turns 38 on June 12, homered in the second at-bat of his Tampa Bay debut Tuesday
"It was nice to hit the home run, but we lost the game,'' said Matsui, who hit .170 with four RBIs in 13 games with Durham. "Physically I feel fine. So hopefully I can just keep building from here.''