White Sox-Athletics Preview

The Chicago White Sox immediately appeared to have upgraded their starting rotation by acquiring Jeff Samardzija from the Oakland Athletics in December.

It didn't look that way early, but there have been signs of improvement. Samardzija, though, still hasn't solved his road woes.

The right-hander will face his former team for the first time Sunday, and ex-teammate Scott Kazmir will try to spoil that return by continuing his success at home.

Oakland got Samardzija in July from the Chicago Cubs for its playoff push and he was expected to start the division series opener. The A's, though, lost the wild card game in Kansas City then dealt him to the White Sox with a minor leaguer for four players, most notably Marcus Semien, who is batting .309 with six homers and 15 RBIs.

"It's good to be back here. (Oakland has) great fans," Samardzija said. "You always know the A's are going to play hard so it's a good series."

Despite the addition of Samardzija, the White Sox's rotation has a 4.93 ERA after being at 4.26 in 2014. Chicago's starters, though, have posted a 3.60 ERA during a 6-1 stretch. John Danks gave up two runs in seven innings in a 4-3 victory Saturday, the team's season-high fourth in a row.

Samardzija (2-2, 4.80 ERA) will try to lead the White Sox to their first five-game win streak since a six-game run in August 2013. Chicago (16-17) is also trying to reach .500 for the first time since it was 33-33 on June 11.

Samardzija, however, is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in four starts away from home.

In his return from a five-game suspension Monday, Samardzija gave up seven runs in six innings in a 10-7 loss in Milwaukee, and has allowed 15 runs in 11 innings in his past two road games. He's 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three home starts.

The White Sox haven't swept a three-game series in Oakland since 1997.

Kazmir (2-1, 2.78) has a 0.90 ERA in three starts in Oakland this year. The left-hander gave up two runs in six innings in Monday's 5-4, 11-inning home loss to Boston.

Kazmir is 0-5 with a 7.04 ERA in seven starts against the White Sox since beating them in Game 2 of the 2008 division series while with Tampa Bay. He yielded one run in eight innings in a 1-0 loss Sept. 11 in his lone matchup last season.

The A's (13-25) will also attempt to avoid a 14th consecutive game with at least one error, which would be their longest streak since a 17-game run in May 1982. Fernando Rodriguez's miscue with two outs in the seventh inning Saturday allowed the White Sox to score two key runs on a Melky Cabrera single and a Jose Abreu double.

"It's typically a play or two late in the game," manager Bob Melvin said. ''Tonight it's two outs, no one on, a bunt to the pitcher and all we have to do is throw to first. We throw it away and the inning gets away from us."

Cabrera went 3 for 5 on Saturday after going 2 for 20 in his prior five games. He's 10 for 28 against Kazmir but has one hit in his last six at-bats. Jose Abreu, batting .349 in an 11-game hit streak, is 1 for 3.

Ike Davis is 4 for 9 with two homers against Samardzija.


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