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STL@CHC: Arrieta fans seven in first start of 2014

When he starts on Wednesday, it won't have been that long since Scott Carroll made an emotional Major League debut on the mound at U.S. Cellular Field.

The 29-year-old rookie validated six-plus years in the Minor Leagues by winning his Major League debut with 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball against the Rays on April 27 in front of scores of friends and family. He followed it up with a tough loss against the Indians on Saturday, when he allowed no earned runs in six innings, and life has since calmed down.

Carroll will be looking to give the White Sox the season sweep over their crosstown rivals when he squares off against the Cubs and fellow right-hander Jake Arrieta.

"I think after the first start, it was a great experience just having a lot of friends and family in town, and once that happened, I was just ready to get back to work and start my starter's routine and just get back to the daily process, which I love," Carroll said. "It's been good. I'm just trying to soak it all in."

Arrieta looked impressive in his first start, scattering four hits across 5 1/3 shutout innings with seven strikeouts and two walks in the Cubs' 3-0 win over the Cardinals on Saturday. He was pulled after 82 pitches as the team works him back into the rotation following a long bout with right shoulder inflammation.

"I thought he maintained his strength throughout," Cubs manager Renteria said of Arrieta. "Coming back from such an extended recovery, we were going to make sure we took care of him."

While Arrieta looks to continue his renaissance with the Cubs following considerable struggles in Baltimore, Carroll said he's just happy to finally stick with a big league club.

"A big shoutout goes to my pitching coach Richard Dotson in Triple-A. He's done a great job with me," Carroll said. "I've been working with him since 2012, and he's just been influential to helping me get to the level where I am now. There are a lot of people that helped make this possible and I'm just thankful for all of them."

White Sox: Abreu's game raising his popularity
Jose Abreu has accomplished quite a bit in his first six weeks in the Major Leagues. He became just the second player to win league Rookie and Player of the Month honors while setting the rookie record for home runs and MLB record for RBIs through April.

Now, he's getting a different kind of recognition. Abreu will grace the regional cover of the upcoming Sports Illustrated issue, and his No. 79 jersey sales have skyrocketed.

"It's fun for him, it's fun for us to have a guy like him that, you know, nobody knew about him last year," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Now, all of the sudden, he's on our team. It makes it fun for us, and being around him, he's just a good person. He's a humble kid and he's a great team person."

"That's the thing, for our guys, you root for him and you're happy for all of these accolades he's getting and the attention. It's not going to change him. He's such a good team person and you like to see stuff like this happen to people like him."

Cubs: Peaks and valleys
The Cubs' offense has been sputtering this month, with the team batting .179 (35-for-196).

"We have shown this season some moments when we've really ground out at-bats," Renteria said. "It's ebb and flow; we've had some peaks and valleys."

The trouble is, the season keeps going, and the Cubs can't call a time out. They've struggled with runners in scoring position, which was a problem last season, and rank 14th in the National League in that category.

Outfielder Nate Schierholtz has been scuffling, and is hitting .188 overall.

"I don't panic," Renteria said, when asked about Schierholtz, who is 1-for-18 in his last five games. "He's got a history of doing well. It's probably a little longer spurt than he'd like to be in a down time. We're trying to alleviate any tension he might have and let him play."

When players play is discussed daily by Renteria and his staff.

"We've mentioned to them, 'You can get three hits today, and it doesn't mean you'll play tomorrow,'" Renteria said. "[We tell them] 'You can go 0-for-4 today and you may play tomorrow.' It's what we're trying to do with each individual. We're just trying to maximize their learning and their game."

Worth noting
• The White Sox have won three consecutive games against the Cubs for the first time since May 5-18, 2012, and are riding a season-high four-game winning streak.

• With a pair of scoreless innings on Tuesday, White Sox reliever Jake Petricka extended his scoreless streak to six appearances covering 10 innings.

• With a three-run homer in the fourth inning on Tuesday, White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham homered in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 10 and 11, 2012.

• The Cubs have lost four straight and are 2-8 in their last 10 road games.

• Cubs lefty Chris Rusin threw a no-hitter on Wednesday for Triple-A Iowa, and helped himself by hitting a two-run single in a 3-0 win over New Orleans.

• Cubs reliever Pedro Strop was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday ith a moderate left groin strain. Lefty Zac Rosscup was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take the spot in the bullpen. Comments