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Cubs to face White Sox only four times in 2013

CHICAGO -- Next year, the Cubs will play their crosstown rivals, the White Sox, in back-to-back two-game Interleague series in May, travel to Oakland for the first time in franchise history and face the American League version of the Astros.

The Cubs released their 2013 schedule on Wednesday. Next season will begin with a three-game series at Pittsburgh, April 1 and April 3-4, and the Cubs follow that with a trip to Atlanta from April 5-7, before the home opener April 8 against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.

That Brewers' series will be part of a 10-game homestand that also includes games against the Giants, April 11-14, and the first Interleague series of the year, April 16-18, against the Rangers. The Cubs will play American League West teams in Interleague Play with the exception of the four games against their city rivals.

In a switch from the past 14 years, the Cubs and White Sox will play four games, back-to-back, home and road, beginning May 27-28 at U.S. Cellular Field, and then May 29-30 at Wrigley Field.

When Interleague play began in 1997, the crosstown teams played one three-game series in '97 at U.S. Cellular Field, and met for three games in 1998 at Wrigley Field. The series was then expanded in 1999 to six games, three at each ballpark. The White Sox have the edge so far, leading the series, 49-41, and posted a 4-2 record this year.

The Cubs will have a quick, two-game trip to California for an Interleague series against the Angels, June 4-5. The players won't need to pack much as it comes in the middle of a 14-game stretch in which they'll play 12 of the 14 games at Wrigley Field (May 29-30 vs. the White Sox; May 31-June 2 vs. the D-backs; June 7-9 vs. the Pirates; June 10-13 vs. the Reds). The Cubs will face the Angels again at Wrigley, July 9-10.

The Astros, who move to the American League next season, do return to Wrigley for an Interleague series, June 21-23. Houston wraps up its last National League season on Oct. 1-3, 2012, in Chicago.

The Cubs travel west in late June for two more Interleague series, playing the Mariners on June 28-30 in Seattle and the Athletics on July 2-4 in Oakland. The A's have been to Wrigley Field twice (2004, 2010) but this will be the Cubs' first trip to Oakland. The Cubs added Marlins Park and Target Field to the list of ballparks they've played in; the Coliseum will be No. 114.

The first extended road trip will be in mid-April, when the Cubs travel to Milwaukee April 19-21, then Cincinnati April 22-24 and Miami April 25-28.

The Cardinals will come to Wrigley Field for a two-game series May 7-8, a four-game series July 11-14 and a three-game set Aug. 16-18.

The last homestand of 2013 will be Sept. 20-25 against the Braves (Sept. 20-22) and Pirates (Sept. 23-25), and the Cubs will finish in St. Louis Sept. 27-29.

Chicago Cubs