The Twins look for a fourth straight victory while trying to further cut into the White Sox lead atop the division as the rivals continue their four-game set Tuesday night at the Metrodome.
Minnesota (58-47) won 7-0 in Monday’s series opener to snap a five-game losing streak to Chicago and move within 1 1/2 games of the White Sox (59-45) in the Central.
“You could just kind of feel the mood in the dugout changing,” Monday’s winning pitcher Kevin Slowey said.
The Twins are 35-19 at home, where they’ve won eight of nine and four in a row over Chicago, which leads the season series 7-5. These teams will meet for a final three-game set Sept. 23-25 in Minnesota.
Rookie Denard Span and Justin Morneau each hit two-run homers in the third inning, while Slowey threw a six-hitter for Minnesota, which had allowed 40 runs in its last four games versus the White Sox, who fell to 2-2 on their 10-game road trip.
“I just take it one game at a time,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “That’s why my hair’s still black.”
It was the first career homer for Span, who is hitting .342 (27-for-79) since being recalled from the minors June 30.
“You have to be strong to play this game, and that’s why it’s so much more enjoyable that I’m up here now and just getting an opportunity, Span said.
Morneau, meanwhile, is 7-for-18 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last five contests.
The Twins hope to have center fielder Carlos Gomez back in the lineup after he entered the game in the eighth inning Monday for the first time since hurting his back over the weekend. Gomez is batting .320 (16-for-50) with two homers and seven RBIs versus Chicago this season.
Glen Perkins (7-3, 4.08 ERA) looks to bounce back from his first loss since May 30 for the Twins. He allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
“Perk, I think, lost his concentration,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins’ official Web site. “And it showed.”
The left-hander—5-1 in last 10 starts—allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings, but didn’t factor in the decision of a 7-5 loss at Chicago on June 9 in his only previous start versus the White Sox.
On Monday for Chicago, A.J. Pierzynski had two hits while Jermaine Dye extended his hitting streak to seven games—where he’s 11-for-25 during that span—but failed to homer in a fourth consecutive game Monday. Dye is hitting .366 (15-for-41) with four home runs and eight RBIs against Minnesota this season.
Clayton Richard (0-0, 9.00) makes his second major league start Tuesday after allowing five runs and seven hits in four innings of a 10-8 win over Texas on Wednesday.
“It’s a relief knowing that I’ll at least be around for another start,” said the left-hander, who was a former backup quarterback at Michigan.