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Series preview: Blue Jays at White Sox

CHICAGO -- While the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays start their three-game series Friday night, all eyes will be on Saturday's matchup at U.S. Cellular Field.

Longtime White Sox staff ace Mark Buehrle will finally mark his return to the mound in his old ballpark when he pitches for the Blue Jays on Saturday night. Pitching for the White Sox will be Buehrle's good friend John Danks.

A no-hitter and a perfect game are among Buehrle's highlights at U.S. Cellular Field, a ballpark he called home for 12 seasons before leaving to the Miami Marlins via free agency before the 2012 season. One year later, he was traded to the Blue Jays.

Buehrle owned the South Side ballpark for his dozen years, pitching in 205 games, 190 of which were starts. He has a career 90-54 record there with a 3.71 ERA. He also pitched 11 complete games in a White Sox home uniform, four of which were shutouts.

While the start to Buehrle's 2014 season was shades of his dominance with the White Sox, his year has taken a drastic turn. After his first 12 starts, Buehrle was 11-1 with a 2.10 ERA and well on his way to a spot on the American League All-Star team. Over his last 12 outings, though, the left-hander has gone 1-7 with a 4.76 ERA.

In four of his last five outings, Buehrle has given up at least four runs, and in his most recent outing, Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, he was only able to last 3 1/3 innings. The Blue Jays and Tigers ended up playing 19 innings that day with the Toronto bullpen hanging on for a 6-5 victory.

Buehrle has faced the White Sox twice in his career, both in Toronto. In April of 2013, Buehrle picked up his first victory as a member of the Blue Jays when he held the White Sox to two runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings.

This past June 29, Buehrle gave up just two runs on six hits over eight innings against the White Sox, but he was outdueled by Jose Quintana, who pitched seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 White Sox victory.

HEAD TO HEAD

Blue Jays rookie starter Marcus Stroman, who stands all of 5-foot-9 and weighs 185 pounds, has faced the White Sox just once, on June 28 at Toronto, and gave up two runs on two hits over 6 2/3 innings of a no-decision, in a game the White Sox won 4-3. ... Three White Sox batters have as many as six at-bats against Buehrle (Tyler Flowers, Leury Garcia, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo), with Ramirez going 3-for-6 with a double. ... Over two seasons and 35 career starts, the Blue Jays' Drew Hutchinson has never faced the White Sox. ... The Blue Jays' Melky Cabrera and Munenori Kawasaki are a combined 4-for-5 against White Sox starter Hector Noesi. ... The Blue Jays' Dioner Navarro is 8-for-20 (.400) against Danks with two doubles and a home run. ... In his only start against the Blue Jays, the White Sox's Scott Carroll have up five runs (three earned) on seven hits over five innings and took the loss on June 26.

NOTES

The White Sox went 2-4 on their six-game West Coast road trip to Seattle and San Francisco and are 57-64 on the season. ... The last time the White Sox and Blue Jays faced off, the White Sox won three games of a four-game series at Toronto. ... The White Sox have allowed 18 runs over their past five games, which is down form the 67 runs they allowed over the first seven games of August. ... Before going 0-for-4 on Wednesday at San Francisco, Alexei Ramirez was batting .341 (28-for-82) with 16 RBIs over his previous 20 games. ... Konerko remains one home run shy of tying Jason Giambi (440) for 41st place on the all-time list. ... Despite not hitting a home run since June 29, Jose Abreu is still tied for the most long balls in baseball at 31 with the Orioles' Nelson Cruz and the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton. ... The Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion, who has been out since July 5 with a strained right quadriceps muscle, is expected to return to action in this series.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Friday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (6-8, 4.67 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (7-3, 3.34), 7:10 p.m. CST

Saturday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-8, 4.96) vs. Blue Jays LH Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.31), 6:10 p.m. CST

Sunday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (4-7, 4.81) vs. Blue Jays RH Drew Hutchison (8-10, 4.60), 1:10 p.m. CST