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Sox Face Athletics Holding Slim Half-Game Lead In AL Central

(Sports Network) - Chicago had a 12-game home winning streak halted last night, and the White Sox will attempt to get back on track today in the rubber match of a weekend set with the Oakland Athletics.

The White Sox remain in first place in the AL Central but are just a half-game up on second-place Minnesota.

As for Oakland, its 52-51 record is good for a distant second place in the AL West, 8 1/2 games off the pace of the Texas Rangers.

Gio Gonzalez isn't a household name by any means, but the Oakland right-hander has pitched well this season. He enters tonight's game with a 9-6 record and 3.64 ERA, and a victory over the White Sox this evening would enable the young hurler to even his career record at 17-17. Gonzalez didn't figure in the decision of Tuesday's game against Texas despite allowing only one earned run over six innings.

Gonzalez has yet to face Chicago this season and is 0-2 lifetime against the White Sox with a 12.96 ERA.

As for Gavin Floyd, he is 6-8 this season, but his 3.66 ERA is far more impressive than the record. Floyd, who will be on the mound for the White Sox tonight, has 107 strikeouts against 37 walks and has only permitted seven home runs in 130 1/3 innings of action. He was dominant on Tuesday, permitting zero earned runs over seven innings en route to a win over Seattle.

Floyd is 2-0 in his career against Oakland with a 1.33 ERA in four starts.

On Saturday, Kevin Kouzmanoff finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle and Dallas Braden tossed a complete game to lead Oakland to a 6-2 victory over Chicago.

Kouzmanoff went 3-for-5 and scored three times while Daric Barton added a pair of hits and drove in two runs to help the Athletics snap a two-game slide.

Braden (6-7) permitted eight hits, walked one and struck out five to win his second consecutive start -- both against Chicago -- after going nine straight turns without a win following his perfect game.

John Danks (11-8) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings for Chicago, which also had a five-game overall win streak halted.

"I expect to win every game, but I know that's not going to happen," said Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen. "Hopefully we can come back and put together another winning streak here."

Oakland has won 10 of its last 15 road games, while the Sox fell for only a second time in their last 21 home games.

The Athletics have been successful at U.S. Cellular Field in the recent past, having prevailed in four of six matchups with the White Sox there last season. Oakland has also won eight of the past 13 overall tilts in the series.