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Angels Set To Battle White Sox

(Sports Network) - The Chicago White Sox have gotten themselves right back in the thick of the race in the American League Central. They will try to get even closer tonight when they open a four-game series versus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at U.S. Cellular Field.

Chicago took two of three over the weekend from the Texas Rangers and has moved within a game of the division-leading Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers.

The White Sox picked up a series win on Sunday, as Alexei Ramirez hit the tie- breaking home run in the sixth inning to carry Chicago past Texas, 5-3. Carlos Quentin doubled to drive in a run and scored twice and Mark Kotsay added a pair of hits and drove in a run for the White Sox, who have won 14 of their last 18 games.

Mark Buehrle (7-7) earned the win with seven inning innings of work during which he yielded three runs on five hits without a walk or strikeout for Chicago, which has claimed nine of its last 12 road contests.

"Our starting pitcher was very good," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We've had outstanding pitching the last two days."

Tonight, the Pale Hose turn to righty Gavin Floyd, who is 3-7 with a 4.66 earned run average. Floyd defeated Kansas City on Tuesday, holding the Royals to three runs (two earned) and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Over his last five starts Floyd has pitched to a 1.28 ERA, but has just one win to show for it in that time.

Floyd has struggled against the Angels, going 1-3 with a 4.14 ERA in five starts.

The Angels, meanwhile, will counter with left-hander Scott Kazmir, who has lost his last two starts after winning four in a row. Kazmir was roughed up by the Rangers on Wednesday, as he surrendered five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, dropping him to 7-7 on the year, while raising his ERA to 5.67.

Kazmir has faced the White Sox eight times and is 3-3 against them with a 4.66 ERA.

The Angels come into tonight's tilt having salvaged the finale of their three- game set with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. Torii Hunter led the way in that one, going 3-for-4 with two homers and a career-high tying seven RBI in an 11-0 drubbing at Angel Stadium.

"It was a lot of fun. When you're in the zone, you're in the zone. You have days like that and today was my day," Hunter said.

Paul McAnulty, recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake before the game, added a two- run shot for Los Angeles, which avoided getting swept at home for the first time since June 2007.

Joel Pineiro (9-6) continued his recent string of successful outings, winning for the sixth straight time after scattering six hits and four walks while fanning three in seven scoreless innings.

The Angels swept the White Sox in a brief two-game set earlier in the year and has won three straight and five of the last six matchups.