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Sox Send Freddy Garcia To Mound To Try To Extend 10-Game Winning Streak

(Sports Network) - It's safe to say that not many people predicted that Cubs hurler Carlos Silva and the White Sox's Freddy Garcia would have combined for 16 wins before the end of June.

Yet, both starters are going for their ninth win of the season this evening and Garcia will look to pitch his club to its first 11-game win streak in 49 years as the two Chicago teams continue their three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field after a wild opener yesterday.

Garcia is perhaps the biggest surprise of the two. The 33-year-old had won just five games in 23 starts over his three previous seasons since a 17- victory 2006 campaign with the White Sox, but comes into this outing 8-3 with a 4.85 earned run average and having won five straight starts.

The right-hander is pitching to a 3.74 ERA since he allowed seven runs over 2 1/3 innings in a loss to the Marlins on May 23 and he limited the Nationals to three fourth-inning runs on Sunday while also working around six hits in the seven-inning outing.

"He had a lot of movement on all of his pitches," Washington's Adam Dunn told the White Sox's website afterwards. "He is really deceptive being a big guy. He hides the ball very well."

Garcia has never lost to the Cubs, going 4-0 with a 1.25 ERA in five starts, though he hasn't faced them since May 12, 2007.

His counterpart, Silva, has lost back-to-back starts since winning six straight and beginning the season 8-0, though the 31-year-old has yielded just five runs over his losing streak and has a 2.62 ERA in his last seven starts.

Silva, who was 5-18 over his previous two seasons with the Mariners, gave up two runs over seven innings in a 2-1 loss to the White Sox on June 12 and then yielded three runs in six frames versus the Angels last Friday. The right- hander was pulled due to a right hamstring injury and suffered a 7-6 setback.

"He tweaked it pretty good the other day, and we had to get him out of the game after 69 pitches," Cubs manager Lou Piniella told his team's website four days after the outing. "He had a throw-day [Tuesday] with the pitching coach [Larry Rothschild]. It was decided that we should hold him back and give him a little more time, and that's exactly what we're going to do."

So, instead of facing his former Mariners club on Thursday, Silva, who is pitching to a 3.01 ERA this season, instead tries for his first victory over the White Sox since Oct. 1, 2006 while with the Twins. His loss to them earlier this month dropped Silva to 4-11 with a 5.33 ERA lifetime versus the Pale Hose.

Silva will also look to stabilize a Cubs rotation that saw Friday's starter Carlos Zambrano allow four first-inning runs before unleashing a tirade in the dugout that got him sent home and subsequently suspended.

After recording the final out of the inning, Zambrano began a heated exchange with first baseman Derrek Lee while storming around the dugout and did not begin the second inning of the mound, giving the right-hander the shortest outing of his career in a 6-0 loss.

"He's been suspended indefinitely, pending the normal investigation of MLB and the Players' Association," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said of Zambrano. "His conduct was not acceptable."

In his return from a stint on the disabled list due to a thumb injury, Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. The Cubs have scored just four runs in their last four games, three of those losses, and are 8 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central.

The White Sox, meanwhile, have pulled within 1 1/2 games of the Twins for first place in the AL Central thanks to their first 10-game winning streak since May 18-26, 1976. They haven't won 11 in a row since a 12-game run from June 17-27, 1961.

Carlos Quentin hit a three-run homer off Zambrano in the first inning and Jake Peavy hurled seven scoreless innings to earn the win. The White Sox's starters are now 12-1 with a 1.90 ERA over the last 16 games.

The White Sox have also won 14 of their last 15 overall, with the lone setback in that span coming to the Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 13. The Pale Hose have won three of four versus the Cubs this year as well as six of the last seven meetings overall.

The White Sox, who are 14-2 versus the NL this year, have also taken six of the last seven played at U.S. Cellular Field in this Windy City rivalry.