Chris Sale is healthy and riding an extended scoreless streak, but the Chicago White Sox were the ones unable to get on the scoreboard in the Crosstown Cup opener.
Edwin Jackson surely wouldn't mind if the Chicago Cubs' lineup stayed hot as he opposes Sale on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Sale (5-2, 2.53 ERA) missed Wednesday's scheduled start due to mild tendinitis in his throwing shoulder and the White Sox (24-25) lost 6-2 to Boston. He threw a bullpen session Sunday without incident and seemed fully recovered.
The left-hander, 4-0 with a 1.18 ERA in his last five starts, hasn't allowed a run in 23 straight innings, and his six-start streak of lasting at least seven while allowing fewer than three earned runs is the longest by a White Sox starter since Mark Buehrle's seven-start run in 2007.
Sale has never started against the Cubs and hasn't faced them since 2011, when he pitched two scoreless innings of relief over two appearances.
The Cubs (20-30), though, have put together back-to-back solid offensive performances. They beat Cincinnati 5-4 in 10 innings Sunday to end their six-game losing streak, then cruised past the White Sox 7-0 on Monday.
Alfonso Soriano went 3 for 4 with two RBIs while Anthony Rizzo doubled and added a two-run triple. Soriano is hitting .344 over his last 16 road games versus the White Sox.
Jeff Samardzija threw a two-hitter Monday for the Cubs' first shutout of the season, and the offense gave him plenty of support after averaging 2.5 runs during the skid.
"Pitch deep into games and give your offense a chance to win the game," Samardzija said. "We saw what happened tonight."
Jackson (1-7, 6.11), though, didn't last long in his most recent start and has received two or fewer runs of support six times. He could use the offensive help, especially given his struggles after allowing four runs in a season-low three innings of a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday.
``I think at times he tries too hard to justify his contract and overthrows,' manager Dale Sveum said. ``I think he needs to relax and just be Edwin Jackson, the guy we liked enough to sign.
"He seems like he doesn't come out with a lot of conviction early in games.'
The right-hander spent parts of 2010 and '11 with the White Sox, going 11-9 with a 3.36 ERA in 30 starts. He's 1-1 with a 2.56 ERA in his last five outings at U.S. Cellular Field.
Monday's loss ended a three-game win streak for the White Sox, who have scored an AL-worst 177 runs and also are last in the league hitting .239.
They've finished with five hits or fewer 11 times this season. Adam Dunn went hitless and is 1 for 22 over his last six games.
``Again, I don't know if it was the pitcher who made us flat, but there was enough of a lack of focus that needs to be there,' manager Robin Ventura said.
The Cubs have won three of the last four meetings on the South Side. This series shifts to Wrigley Field on Wednesday for the final two games of the Crosstown Cup, which is awarded the season series' winner each year.
The Associated Press News Service
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