The long ball has helped the Chicago White Sox get back on track following their recent slide.
They'll look for a third consecutive victory Saturday against the Houston Astros, who will try to avoid a fourth straight defeat to the visiting White Sox.Chicago's 47 home runs rank among the most in the majors, and the three it's recorded while winning two in a row has helped the club regroup from a four-game losing streak. Star Cuban rookie Jose Abreu's three-run homer in the eighth inning helped the White Sox (21-22) to a 4-2 win at Oakland on Thursday and Adam Dunn's three-run shot highlighted a four-run sixth during the 7-2 victory at Houston one night later.Dunn, 2 for 21 in his previous eight contests, had two hits and ended a 14-game drought without a home run. Two of his five hits in his last 16 at-bats at Minute Maid Park have left the park."He's got power with anybody in the league," manager Robin Ventura said. "If he gets it it's going to go. It's good. He's walking and hitting balls hard so it's a good night for him."Teammate Conor Gillaspie also had two hits and is batting .360 with nine RBIs while hitting safely in all 13 of his road games this year. He's 4 for 8 in his last two at Houston.Chicago has won three in a row and four of five against the Astros (14-28) following four consecutive defeats in the series.The White Sox managed only a run in six innings against scheduled Houston starter Jarred Cosart (2-3, 4.30 ERA) on Aug. 28 when he did not factor in the decision of a 6-1 defeat.The right-hander gave up seven runs and walked four in one-third of an inning during an 11-3 loss at Oakland on April 18, but has given up the same amount of runs over 25 2/3 innings while going 1-1 in his next four starts. He yielded two runs in six innings of a 5-2 win at Baltimore on Sunday.Cosart expects to unveil a one-seam fastball that he hopes will help continue his recent success."I have a pretty good feel for it, and I'll break it out (Saturday) and hopefully get some quick outs or maybe some strikeouts," he told the Astros' official website.Chicago counters with Hector Noesi (0-3, 7.25), who makes his fourth straight start after allowing three runs, eight hits and three walks while tossing 117 pitches in six innings of a 5-1 loss to Arizona on Sunday.The right-hander is 0-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 16 starts since beating Minnesota on May 6, 2012. Though this will be his first start versus Houston, Noesi posted a 6.75 ERA without earning a decision in three appearances against the Astros in 2013 while with Seattle.With two hits in the series opener, Houston's Chris Carter is batting .375 (9 for 24) in his last seven games. He's 8 for 16 in his last four versus Chicago.Dunn went 0 for 3 with a strikeout against Cosart in 2013.
Over the last two weeks, George Springer has led qualified hitters in slugging percentage in at-bats to end in a fastball (1.118). Hector Noesi has allowed a .683 slugging percentage in such at-bats this season, the seventh-highest mark among pitchers with at least three starts.