Chicago (60-47) at Minnesota (59-48)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 49° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Thu Jul 31, 2008
  • TV: CSN, FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago White Sox will still be alone atop the AL Central standings when they leave Minnesota.

The White Sox, though, look to leave town with the lead they had when they came to Minnesota when they try to earn a split of a four-game set with the Twins on Thursday night.

Chicago (60-46) snapped a three-game losing streak with an 8-3 win over the Twins on Wednesday after dropping the first two contests of this set. The White Sox avoided dropping out of first place and head into this finale with a 1 1/2-game lead over Minnesota (59-48).

“We needed to win this game badly for the enthusiasm of the ballclub,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Carlos Quentin hit his AL-leading 28th homer and drove in four runs, while Alexei Ramirez added a three-run shot for the White Sox, who scored nine total runs during their three-game skid.

After going 0-for-4 in Monday’s opener, Quentin is 4-for-10 with five RBIs in his last two contests and batting .324 with nine home runs, plus 21 RBIs over his last 17 games.

“He carried this ballclub for a long time,” Guillen said of Quentin. “He’s been doing the same stuff day in day out, and he continues to do it.”

After a solid effort from Gavin Floyd helped Chicago halt a five-game losing streak at the Metrodome, the White Sox turn to John Danks (8-4, 3.18 ERA), who is looking for his sixth straight win overall in his fourth start against Minnesota this season.

Danks allowed four earned runs and eight hits in six innings, but was victorious in Chicago’s 7-6 win at Detroit on Saturday. He is 5-0 with a 3.33 ERA over his last 11 starts since losing to the Los Angeles Angels on May 24.

“Felt I had good stuff,” Danks said Saturday. “Aside from a few pitches here or there, I thought I made good pitches.”

The left-hander is 2-3 with 7.06 ERA in six career starts versus the Twins and 1-1 with an 8.78 ERA in three outings in 2008—all at home.

Jason Kubel and rookie Denard Span each had two hits, while Justin Morneau had an RBI double Wednesday for Minnesota, which had its four-game winning snapped while losing for just the sixth time in its last 26 games at home.

Morneau, who’s 4-for-10 with seven RBIs in the series, is 6-for-13 with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs lifetime versus Danks. Fellow Minnesota All-Star Joe Mauer—0-for-4 on Wednesday—is 6-for-10 against Danks.

Scott Baker (7-3, 2.38), who is 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his last seven starts, takes the mound for Minnesota. He allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings to win 11-4 at Cleveland on Saturday.

“It was one of those nights when you know what you’re doing wrong, but you can’t make the corrections,” Baker said. “I was trying to guide the ball. It was a constant battle. It worked out, but I would have liked to do better.”

The right-hander is 2-2 with an 8.44 ERA in six starts versus the White Sox and allowed three runs in five innings of 12-5 win at Chicago on April 9.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Danks CWS vs. S. Baker Tex
12-9 Record 11-4
3.32 ERA 3.45
159 K 141
57 BB 42
1.23 WHIP 1.18

Scoreboard

Thursday, Jul 31