Twins-White Sox Preview
The White Sox will try to avoid matching a season high with their fifth straight loss Monday night when they open a 10-game homestand against the Twins.
Following a 1-6 road trip in which they dropped three of four at Baltimore and were swept by Detroit, the White Sox (72-61) return home tied with the Tigers atop the Central following a 4-2 loss Sunday night.
Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a home run off Justin Verlander, but Chicago mustered just six hits the rest of the way - three in the ninth - and Delmon Young hit a tie-breaking, three-run shot off Chris Sale in the sixth.
Chicago went 2 for 27 with runners in scoring position during the sweep and hit .216 while averaging 3.0 runs over the trip.
"You can't sit here and wish for something," manager Robin Ventura said. "You've got to go play. It's going to turn around."
The offense has had little trouble at home, however. The White Sox have won their last seven games at U.S. Cellular Field and are 21-5 there since late June. They've hit 38 home runs over the last 18 games in Chicago while averaging 6.1 runs per game.
Kevin Youkilis may be particularly eager for a return to the South Side. In 22 home games with the White Sox, he's hitting .351 with eight homers and 25 RBIs. Youkilis, though, is hitless in his last 19 at-bats.
He'll look to help the White Sox win their sixth straight at home over the Twins, having outscored them 43-18 during that five-game run.
While Minnesota hopes to improve on its 3-9 overall record against Chicago, playing spoiler in the division race is secondary to finishing the season strong.
"You will play and have an impact on (the divisional race)," manager Ron Gardenhire told the team's official website. "But that's not your No. 1 goal, is to have an impact on who wins. It's to really right yourself, finish off the season, at least have a little bit of a good feeling going into the winter."
The Twins failed in a bid for a three-game sweep at Kansas City on Sunday, losing 6-4 for their 18th defeat in 24 games.
Joe Mauer will take a hot bat into this series. He's hitting .344 over the last eight games and is 8 for his last 15 with three extra-base hits. He is a career .362-hitter at U.S. Cellular Field and is 6 for 19 there this year.
Samuel Deduno (5-2, 3.72 ERA) will make his first start against the White Sox on Monday, looking to build off seven innings of two-hit ball in a 10-0 win over Seattle on Wednesday. The rookie right-hander had no walks after issuing 37 free passes over his previous 51 innings.
"Today I came out aggressive with all my pitches,'' Deduno said. "Fastball, changeup, curveball. Everything was working today."
Chicago counters with Hector Santiago (2-1, 3.91), who is making his first career start.
Santiago, who began the year as the White Sox closer, made three starts in Triple-A Charlotte before being recalled in mid-August and didn't allow a run over 14 2-3 innings.
Chicago's Adam Dunn, the AL leader with 38 homers, missed the last two games with a strained oblique and his status for the opener is uncertain.