Red Sox-White Sox Preview
By JEFF MEZYDLO
(AP) -- After a rough opening two weeks, the surging Boston Red Sox are in position to surpass .500 for the first time this season.
That's if they can finally find a way to get the best of Chicago's Gavin Floyd.
The Red Sox look to sweep the four-game set at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday by extending their winning streak to seven games and handing the White Sox a sixth consecutive defeat.
Since blowing a 9-0 lead in a 15-9 home loss to the rival Yankees on April 21, Boston (10-10) has hit the road to win six in a row and even its record.
"(A .500 record) is not a goal, but we rebounded off the bottom," manager Bobby Valentine said. "I think we still have a lot of work to do."
The Red Sox averaged 8.8 runs over the first five games of the streak, but needed only a fourth-inning RBI single from Adrian Gonzalez to beat Chicago 1-0 on Saturday.
Ryan Sweeney had two of Boston's four hits, but Jon Lester and three relievers held the White Sox (10-11) to six hits. Reliever Franklin Morales, who got two outs in the eighth, has gone 22 straight road outings without giving up a run - the longest stretch by a left-hander in franchise history.
"Everybody is having fun now," said Sweeney, batting .391 (25 for 64) in 17 games. "We're rolling and we can just keep feeding off each other and keep it going."
Gonzalez has hit .341 (14 for 41) with nine RBIs in 11 games against the White Sox.
Looking for their first series sweep in Chicago since taking all four in 2007, the Red Sox face a stiff challenge against Floyd (1-3, 3.60 ERA), who is 6-0 with a 2.96 ERA in seven starts against them.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA versus Boston at U.S. Cellular Field. He's allowed only a solo home run and three hits in each of his last two starts against the Red Sox at home.
The White Sox, however, have scored five runs with Floyd on the mound in 2012. He gave up a run, two hits and struck out six in 7 1-3 innings of a 2-0 loss at Oakland on Tuesday.
"It stinks but you move on," Floyd said. "I'm just trying to continue what I've been working on and focus on every pitch."
After giving up seven runs on five homers in 4 2-3 innings against Detroit in his season debut April 7, scheduled Boston starter Josh Beckett (2-2, 4.56) has allowed six runs and one home run in 21 innings while going 2-1 in his next three.
Despite a rough first frame where he had words with home plate umpire Adrian Johnson, the right-hander allowed two runs in six innings of an 11-2 win at Minnesota on Tuesday.
"He was just missing with some pitches and got a little frustrated, possibly, but it really turned up his competitive fluids," Valentine said. "He was terrific."
Beckett is 4-2 with a 3.70 ERA in eight starts against the White Sox, but 0-2 while receiving an average 1.86 runs of support in the last three.
Chicago has hit .200, scored 10 runs and been shut out twice during its five-game skid. Paul Konerko had two doubles Saturday as the White Sox wasted another gem from Jake Peavy.
Batting .383 with five homers and 15 RBIs, Konerko is 6 for 11 in the series. However, he's 1 for 10 against Beckett.
Updated April 29, 2012