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Crain setting stage for late-inning excellence

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CHICAGO -- When Jesse Crain has entered a game in the eighth inning this season, one thought has gone through White Sox closer Addison Reed's mind.

"When he's in, I'm pretty positive the score is going to stay the way it is," said Reed of the team's exceptional setup man.

Crain entered Monday's series opener with the Cubs needing one more appearance and 1 2/3 innings to match his career highs (21 games and 20 innings pitched) for consecutive scoreless streaks. His 15 holds are tied with Kelly Wunsch (2000) for the second-highest total by a White Sox pitcher before the All-Star break.

Having Crain and Reed at the back end of the White Sox bullpen makes for a fairly airtight combination, leaving the team 18-2 when leading after seven and 20-1 when leading after eight.

"It makes me want to keep on throwing up zeros and try to catch him, if anything," said Reed with a laugh. "What he's doing is unbelievable and fun to watch out there. He's one of the hardest workers on the team, so it's not surprising at all. I can honestly see him doing this the rest of the year.

"He's showing no signs of slowing down. That would be awesome for him and the team to keep doing what he's doing."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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