Twins-White Sox Preview

The Minnesota Twins still have a significant deficit to make up

in the division, but more games against the Chicago White Sox could

help.

The Twins will try to tie a franchise record with their 10th

straight win over the White Sox on Saturday when the teams continue

their series in Chicago.

Minnesota (40-47) rallied from an early 5-1 deficit Friday to

defeat Chicago 8-5 for its ninth straight win between the teams and

sixth this season.

The Twins, who won 10 in a row in the series in 1965-66, scored

six runs in the fourth inning to complete the comeback. Luke Hughes

hit a three-run homer to cap the scoring as Minnesota went on to

win for the eighth time in 10 games overall.

Minnesota, which has won 28 of its last 34 against the White

Sox, has pulled within 1 1/2 games of Chicago for third place in

the AL Central. The Twins are seven games behind first-place

Cleveland.

“I think everybody is aware of where we are right now,

especially with how important this series is,” starter Nick

Blackburn told the Twins’ official website. “If we can take the

series (Saturday), it’ll be a great four-game trip for us.”

Joe Mauer had two hits and scored twice Friday. He’s 21 for 39

with six doubles and two home runs in his last nine games at

Chicago while improving his lifetime average at U.S. Cellular Field

to .371. He had three hits in Thursday’s series opener.

Chicago (43-47) lost its fourth straight Friday as Gavin Floyd

was chased in the fourth. Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer in the

first, but went hitless in his final four at-bats while striking

out twice.

“Hopefully we’re going to find our swagger after the All-Star

break,” said Dunn, who is in a 3-for-38 slump with 22 strikeouts

his last 11 games. “I feel like me and Alex (Rios), we’ve been as

bad as you can possibly be. … We’re putting it all on us in the

second half.”

Rios went 1 for 4 on Friday and is batting .214.

Mark Buehrle (6-5, 3.66 ERA) will try to end the White Sox’s

slide. He has a 2.91 ERA over his last 11 starts.

Buehrle hasn’t earned a decision in the last three, but Chicago

has won them all. On Monday against Kansas City, he allowed three

runs in seven innings of a 5-4 victory.

The left-hander pitched well against the Twins on June 16, but

was charged with the loss. He gave up one run – a solo homer by

Michael Cuddyer in the second – and three hits in seven innings of

a 1-0 defeat.

Cuddyer’s 96 at-bats against Buehrle are the most of any player.

He’s batting .344 with three homers and 10 doubles in the matchup,

while Mauer is hitting .224.

Brian Duensing (6-7, 4.25) will counter for Minnesota, looking

to win his third straight start. He pitched a six-hitter, striking

out seven, in a 7-0 victory over Tampa Bay on Monday.

The left-hander is 4-0 with a 2.50 ERA in four starts and six

relief appearances against the White Sox. In one start last year,

he gave up two runs in six innings of a 9-3 victory Sept. 15.

Carlos Quentin is 7 for 12 with three homers against Duensing,

but Dunn is 2 for 59 with 28 strikeouts against left-handers this

year.