Justin Masterson has accounted for nearly half of the Cleveland Indians' victories, including a performance that impressed Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura less than two weeks ago.
Chicago's losing streak could hit four if it can't solve Masterson again as Cleveland visits the city's South Side to open a three-game set Monday night.
The Indians (7-10) haven't gotten off to a fantastic start under new manager Terry Francona, but they've won two straight following a five-game losing streak after beating Houston 19-6 on Saturday and 5-4 on Sunday.
Mark Reynolds homered in both contests to give him seven on the season while extending his hitting streak to five. He went 5 for 10 in the series and was moved back to the fifth spot in the order Sunday after hitting seventh the previous two games.
"I don't care where I hit, as long as I've got a jersey and I'm in the lineup," Reynolds told the team's official website.
Prior to winning the final two games versus the Astros, the Indians had not won since taking the first two of a three-game home set with Chicago on April 12 and 13. Masterson (3-1, 1.67 ERA) tossed a five-hitter in the series opener to help Cleveland earn a 1-0 victory.
"This is as good as I think I've ever seen him," Ventura said after that contest. "He was great. And that's the story - he was great. His ball was moving all over the place."
The right-hander, who is 5-5 with a 2.51 ERA and owns three of his five career complete games in 16 starts versus Chicago, had allowed one run in 22 innings - including a career-high 19 consecutive scoreless - while winning his first three starts. He allowed four runs and 11 hits in five innings of a 6-3 loss to Boston in his last outing Wednesday, though.
Masterson will look to bounce back against the White Sox, who have scored five runs during their three-game skid.
Chicago (7-11) got six solid innings from Gavin Floyd on Sunday, but the bullpen came apart in the seventh in a 5-3 loss to Minnesota. It had won four of its first six games of the season while playing at home, but the Twins took both games as the White Sox also fell 2-1 in 10 innings Saturday.
Adam Dunn, hitting .310 with a homer lifetime off Masterson, ended a 0-for-31 slump with a homer in the seventh inning Sunday. He's hitting just .108 with 26 strikeouts, and three of his seven hits are home runs.
"It's still early, you don't want to keep losing games like this, but we're not worried," said outfielder Alex Rios, who hit safely in 15 of his first 16 before going a combined 0 for 6 versus the Twins. "We're a talented team and we're going to be able to compete in this division and in other divisions. We just have to put a few good at-bats together and we'll be fine. We'll get out of this."
White Sox starting pitchers have a 1.65 ERA over the last five, a stretch that began when scheduled starter Dylan Axelrod gave up two runs in six innings of Chicago's 4-3 win over Toronto on Tuesday.
Axelrod (0-1, 4.70) has no record with a 6.35 ERA in one start and one relief appearance lifetime versus Cleveland.