Rosario leads Twins into rubber match with White Sox

CHICAGO — Eddie Rosario had one of the Minnesota Twins’ hottest bats earlier this month, but he went cold this week.

The Minnesota left fielder is batting .329 with six doubles, seven home runs, 19 RBIs and 17 runs in 22 games this month entering play Thursday in the finale of a five-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

Rosario, though, is 2-for-15 in the first four games of the series, which the teams split. He is batting .297 with 18 home runs and 53 RBIs for the season.

“It’s fun to watch Eddie play the game,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said this week. “I think he’s playing as confidently for as long a stretch as we’ve seen. A bad at-bat doesn’t seem to particularly affect him. … He’s on a power roll, he’s on a hit roll.”

Rosario, who bats left-handed and throws right-hander, went 0-for-4 on Wednesday but still has hits in 12 of his past 14 games. He belted a two-run homer Tuesday — his 18th of the season and first in a month — to provide a pair of insurance runs in the Twins’ 4-1 victory over the White Sox.

In 60 games from June 13 through Tuesday, he hit .343 — third best in the American League over that span, trailing only Houston’s Jose Altuve (.403) and George Springer (.343).

Now in his third big league season, all with the Twins, the 25-year-old Puerto Rico native is on track for his best season. He batted .267 through 122 games in 2015 and hit .269 through 92 contests last year.

Thursday’s game pits Twins right-hander Jose Berrios (11-5, 3.99 ERA) against White Sox lefty Derek Holland (6-13, 6.28).

Berrios broke out of a slump in his last start Saturday against Arizona, allowing two hits while striking out seven over seven scoreless innings for a victory. It was his 10th quality start in 18 appearances.

He went 7-1 with a 2.67 ERA to start the season and then slipped to 3-4 with a 6.20 ERA in nine starts before regaining his form against the Diamondbacks.

In his two previous starts before Saturday, Berrios gave up five first-inning runs. He didn’t allow one versus Arizona.

“If there was a first-inning hurdle, he leaped over it,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Berrios. “And he just seemed to get stronger.”

Berrios is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against the White Sox. He earned a win in his last start against Chicago on June 21, allowing two runs in eight innings.

Holland makes his fifth appearance (fourth start) against Minnesota this season. He was charged with three runs and two hits in one-third of an inning in relief Monday in the series opener, a 7-6 White Sox victory in the first game of a doubleheader.

His last start was a rough one. He allowed seven runs, six hits and four walks with one strikeout over only 2 2/3 innings Saturday at Texas.

“I’m just upset with myself,” Holland said. “The greatest thing about this whole year is being healthy. … Tomorrow is a new day. I have to be ready to bounce back.”

Holland makes his 13th career appearance (12th start) against the Twins. He is 2-6 with a 5.68 ERA in those games, including 0-3 with a 9.64 ERA this season against Minnesota.

The teams have three games remaining in their season series after Thursday, Aug. 29-31 at Target Field.