Beltran leads Cards versus improved White Sox

With the best road record in MLB, the Southsiders from Chicago invade St. Louis for three games starting Tuesday night. Sluggers Carlos Beltran and Adam Dunn lead their respective offenses.

Carlos Beltran and Adam Dunn are enjoying huge comeback seasons for their respective teams.

These sluggers are among baseball's home run leaders and will meet Tuesday night as Dunn's Chicago White Sox look for an eighth straight road win in the opener of a three-game set against Beltran's St. Louis Cardinals.

Beltran leads the NL with 18 homers while Dunn has 20 for the majors' second-highest total behind Texas slugger Josh Hamilton. Beltran averaged 13.0 homers over his previous three injury-plagued seasons while Dunn has already nearly doubled his total of 11 from 2011, his first season with Chicago (33-27).

Both homered in consecutive games to finish solid weekend series, as Beltran went 6 for 11 and Dunn was 5 for 12 with seven RBIs.

St. Louis (31-30) and Chicago both lost two of three, however. The Cardinals opened a nine-game interleague homestand with a series loss to Cleveland and have dropped eight of 12 overall.

"I felt that we have been battling injuries and things like that, but at the same time we just need to find a way to play better," Beltran told the Cardinals' official website. "There's no excuses. We have a good team. We just have to find a way to put it together."

The White Sox stumbled against Houston to cap a 4-5 homestand.

"Come Tuesday night, that's another little moment where we can respond again to a bad series," said slugger Paul Konerko, who is second on the all-time list with 56 interleague homers. "We've done it probably six or seven times this year. We'll probably have to do it six or seven more times."

Manager Robin Ventura has indicated that Dunn will start in left field in this series. The White Sox are visiting the new Busch Stadium for the first time, having gone 2-7 over three previous trips to St. Louis with the most recent in 2001.

Chicago may be happy to start a six-game trip after its mediocre homestand. The White Sox own the majors' best road mark at 17-9 and can win eight in a row away from home for the first time since a 12-game run June 4-July 3, 2000.

Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday has missed the last two games with a back injury but could return Tuesday. St. Louis totaled five runs against Cleveland, with Rafael Furcal going 0 for 11 and David Freese 2 for 11.

"Would I like to see us more consistent? There's no question," manager Mike Matheny said. "Guys are grinding, they're fighting, and I'm going to continue to stay optimistic because that's what I believe."

Matheny will start veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright, who yielded three runs and struck out eight over 5 2-3 innings Wednesday to get credit for a 4-3 win over the Astros.

Wainwright (5-6, 4.97 ERA) has never started against the White Sox, but Dunn is 8 for 18 with a homer and eight walks against him.

Rookie left-hander Jose Quintana (1-1, 2.05) will make his fourth start for Chicago. He has gone 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA in his first three while filling in for an injured John Danks.

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