Minnesota (78-73) at Chicago (73-79)

Fair Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 38° F
  • Game info: 8:11 pm EDT Wed Sep 23, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After falling short of the postseason last year, the Minnesota Twins are doing their best to make it this season.

With talented rookie Brian Duensing(notes) on the mound, the surging Twins look for a third straight victory and their first road sweep of the Chicago White Sox in three years Wednesday night.

Michael Cuddyer(notes) had three hits, including one of four Minnesota homers Tuesday night in an 8-6 win over Chicago.

The Twins (78-73), who lost a one-game playoff to the White Sox last season, have won eight of nine and are 2 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central. The frontrunners open a four-game series Monday at Comerica Park.

“Like I said, we’re not worried what happens on the other field. We’ve got to take care of business here,” said closer Joe Nathan(notes), who recorded his 43rd save. “Guys are really focused.”

Chicago (73-79), meanwhile, is all but out of postseason contention after losing three in a row and six of seven.

Cuddyer, who was a triple shy of the cycle, hit his career-high 29th homer while Orlando Cabrera(notes) added a two-run shot for the Twins, who’ve scored 15 runs in the set and are on the verge of their first series sweep at U.S. Cellular Field since July 24-26, 2006.

Cuddyer is batting .378 with five homers and 15 RBIs in his last nine games and has six home runs and 13 RBIs against Chicago this season.

While Cuddyer hopes to stay hot, Duensing (4-1, 3.22 ERA) looks to remain perfect since joining the Twins’ rotation full time last month.

The left-hander, who’s 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his last six starts, allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-0 win over Detroit on Friday.

“He pounded the strike zone,” Cuddyer said of Duensing, who’s not allowed a run over his last 13 1-3 innings. “That was huge, and hopefully he can continue to be huge for us.”

Duensing has a 1.50 ERA, but has not received a decision in two starts versus the White Sox.

While manager Ozzie Guillen had mentioned Mark Buehrle(notes) (12-9, 3.84) could be shut down for the rest of the season, the left-hander will make this start and possibly one more for the White Sox.

The left-hander has lost his last two starts after giving up five runs in six innings of an 11-0 loss to Kansas City on Friday. Buehrle is 1-6 with a 4.91 ERA in 11 starts since throwing a perfect game against Tampa Bay on July 23.

“I don’t know if I was trying too hard, but (Friday) was probably the best I felt since the ninth inning of that perfect game,” said Buehrle, who surpassed the 200-inning mark for the ninth straight season.

Buehrle is 23-15 with a 3.94 ERA in 40 starts against the Twins—2-2 with a 5.28 ERA in five this season.

Paul Konerko(notes) had three hits, including his 28th homer, Tuesday for the White Sox, who’ve scored seven runs in three straight losses since winning 13-3 over Kansas City on Saturday.

The veteran first baseman is batting .364 with two home runs in his last nine games, and has homered in two of his last three versus Minnesota.

The White Sox learned Tuesday that closer Bobby Jenks(notes) is likely done for the season with a calf injury.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Duensing Min vs. M. Buehrle Tor
5-2 Record 13-10
3.64 ERA 3.84
53 K 105
31 BB 45
1.37 WHIP 1.25


Wednesday, Sep 23