Minnesota (54-44) at Chicago (52-43)

Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Mon Jul 26, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Mark Buehrle will try to get the Chicago White Sox off to a good start as they begin a crucial three-game series against the first-place Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

The White Sox have won four of five to move within a half game of reclaiming first place in the AL Central from the Twins.

Chicago has four straight wins against Minnesota and holds a 7-3 edge in the season series.

Buehrle will try to increase that edge as he takes the mound for the first time since flirting with a no-hitter in his last start.

The southpaw was nearly perfect, pitching a two-hitter and facing the minimum 27 batters while leading Chicago to a 14-0 rout of the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. Buehrle struck out four and walked none for his fifth career shutout and first complete game since last Aug. 8.

Buehrle has been the beneficiary of much run support from his White Sox teammates. Chicago is averaging over nine runs a game behind him.

“Maybe they like him,” manager Ozzie Guillen joked Wednesday.

Buehrle doesn’t know why his teammates come out swinging for him.

“It seems like if I go out there and put up zeros, we score 10 or 15 runs,” said Buehrle, who is 10-3 with a 3.86 ERA.

The left-hander has beaten the Twins more than any other team and has three wins in three starts against them this season. Buehrle is 13-4 with a 3.69 ERA in 20 appearances against Minnesota in his career, including 18 starts.

The White Sox had their four-game winning streak snapped with a 9-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

The Twins have won six of seven to maintain their slim lead in the division.

Rookie Justin Morneau had three hits, including a three-run homer, as Minnesota beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Sunday.

Morneau has five homers, 13 RBIs and a lofty .567 slugging percentage in 17 games with the Twins. He has spent much of the season with Triple-A Rochester, but now it appears that he’ll be hanging around with the Twins for quite a while.

“We have a natural cleanup type guy there for now and hopefully for a long time in the future,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He just looks like the kind of kid that belongs in that spot that can do some damage. We haven’t had one of those here in a while.”

Corey Koskie has batted cleanup for most of the season (55 games), but his batting average is at .238.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Radke Min vs. M. Buehrle Tor
11-8 Record 16-10
3.48 ERA 3.89
143 K 165
26 BB 51
1.16 WHIP 1.26