The surging Chicago White Sox look to win their season-high fifth straight and take over sole possession of the AL Central Division lead when they continue a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins.
Chicago has won four straight games after dropping eight of 12. The White Sox scored two runs or fewer in six of those losses, but have burst out for 37 during their winning streak.
Timo Perez and Jose Valentin each hit two-run homers on Friday in Chicago’s 8-2 victory. The White Sox have won three straight against the Twins, scoring 29 runs in that span, and are now tied for the division lead.
“I wasn’t really worried, but I was concerned,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Especially playing against them here in this place. For first place, it’s too early. But it’s never too early to play well.”
Chicago had 12 hits Friday night—reaching double-digits for the third straight game—despite missing cleanup hitter Frank Thomas because of an upset stomach. Leadoff hitter Juan Uribe went 3-for-4 as the first four hitters combined to go 9-for-19.
The Twins, who lost for the fourth time in six games, are struggling with injuries. With three regulars already on the disabled list, Doug Mientkiewicz (back) and Luis Rivas (groin) were held out of the lineup Friday.
“They’ve got a lot of players on the DL, and you’ve got to take advantage,” Valentin said. “We play these guys so many times, and we’ve got to make sure when they come back, we’ve separated from them.”
Justin Moreau replaced Mientkiewicz at first base and Jose Offerman took over for Rivas at second. Both committed errors that led to two unearned runs.
While Minnesota’s defense has been solid in the past, with injuries forcing players out of position, the team has 40 errors this season—second-worst in the league.
“The first thing we think about around here is catching the ball,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “And we haven’t been doing that.”