Strong starting pitching has been the source of the Chicago White Sox's success against the National League over the last year, but they may not be able to count on that continuing with inconsistent Philip Humber on the mound.
Humber will try to end a 13-start winless streak at home Sunday as the White Sox close a three-game series against the Houston Astros.
Chris Sale was outstanding again with eight scoreless innings and Adam Dunn hit his 12th career grand slam to lead Chicago to a 10-1 rout of Houston on Sunday. Gordon Beckham had three RBIs and Alejandro De Aza added four of his team's season high-tying 17 hits.
The White Sox (33-26) had lost three of their last four games, scoring 12 runs during that span.
"Just better approaches," manager Robin Ventura said. "Every day is different. These guys just continue to come back and have that ability to forget yesterday and go with today."
Saturday's victory made the White Sox 15-8 against the NL since last season. Their starting pitchers have a 2.86 ERA in those games, including a 1.64 mark in 2012.
Humber (2-3, 5.68 ERA) will be seeking his first home win since June 12, 2011. He is 0-6 with a 5.72 ERA in 13 starts at U.S. Cellular Field since beating Oakland on June 12.
The right-hander struggled in a 9-5 loss to Toronto on Tuesday, allowing five runs and four walks in five innings. In his previous start, he won for the first time since his perfect game on April 21.
"Right now, I'm not really pulling my share of the rope. Hopefully here pretty soon I'm going to be right back where I need to be," Humber said. "It's just an inconsistent feel. I'll have it one inning and then not have it. Or one game and then not the next game.'
Humber is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in five interleague starts, but has never faced the Astros.
Houston (25-34) lost for the 11th time in 14 games Saturday and has given up 10 or more runs in three of its last four road contests. Astros' starters have compiled an 11.28 ERA in the past six road games after Jordan Lyles was tagged for five runs in 4 1-3 innings Saturday.
Jed Lowrie homered for the third straight game and is 6 for 12 with five RBIs in that stretch.
Lucas Harrell (5-4, 4.70) will try to provide the Astros with a better outing in the series finale. The right-hander has won three of his last four starts, allowing five total earned runs in those three victories and a career-high nine runs in the lone defeat.
He received at least five runs of support for the third time in four starts in Tuesday's 9-8 win over St. Louis. Harrell allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings but didn't walk a batter for the first time since April 7.
Harrell, who is 1-4 with a 6.13 ERA on the road this season, was placed on waivers by the White Sox last July after making 11 appearances - three starts - for Chicago. This will be his first time facing his former team.
The Associated Press News Service
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