White Sox-Tigers Preview
It's rare when the Chicago White Sox win at Comerica Park.
It's becoming a common occurrence for White Sox slugger Adam Dunn to hit the ball out of the park.
Dunn and the White Sox go for a second consecutive victory in Detroit on Sunday, while the Tigers look to get back on track before opening a road-heavy portion of their schedule.
The White Sox (13-14) had dropped 11 of 13 games in Detroit including five straight following Friday's 5-4 series-opening defeat, but ended both that skid and their overall three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory on Saturday. Paul Konerko homered in the seventh and Dunn hit a go-ahead two-run shot in the ninth off Tigers closer Jose Valverde to help Chicago win for the first time this season when scoring fewer than four runs.
"We needed to win this game today,'' said Dunn, who has hit four of his team-best eight homers in the last six games. "I definitely didn't want to chase anything - just got a pitch that I could get in the air and it happened to go out.''
Before heading to Cleveland for four games, Chicago will try to climb back to .500 with Dylan Axelrod (0-0, 2.70 ERA) on the hill.
The right-hander will make his third appearance - and first start - since being called up April 27 when reliever Jesse Crain went on the disabled list. He has a chance to earn a permanent spot in the rotation after the White Sox moved Chris Sale into the bullpen.
"Heck, (Axelrod is) pitching Sunday, so certainly we got faith in him to go out there," pitching coach Don Cooper told the White Sox's official website. "We've seen him in the big leagues last year and he did a fine job, and there are going to be opportunities knocking on Axe's door and he's going to get that chance to show more what he can do."
Axelrod was 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in four appearances - three starts - during a call-up last September. His first career start came at home against Detroit on Sept. 14, when, he allowed two runs over six innings and struck out eight but was denied the victory after Chicago's bullpen allowed three ninth-inning runs en route to a 6-5, 10-inning defeat.
The Tigers (13-13), who will play 19 of 24 away from Comerica Park following this contest, will give the ball to Rick Porcello (2-2, 5.64) for the series finale.
The right-hander gave up three runs over a season-high eight innings in Tuesday's 9-3 victory over Kansas City. Porcello had surrendered 14 total runs while losing his previous two starts.
"(Pitching coach Jeff Jones) just suggested something to slow down my delivery,'' Porcello said. "My biggest problem has been my tempo - I'm getting out too quick and leaving pitches up in the zone. (Tuesday), we slowed everything down.''
Porcello has won his last three starts against the White Sox, including throwing 7 2-3 innings of one-run ball in a 5-2 road victory April 15.
Konerko is 8 for 20 with three doubles and a home run off Porcello, and 6 for 18 with two homers in five games against Detroit in 2012.
Dunn, the team leader with 22 RBIs, has one hit - a double - in three at-bats versus Porcello.