The Chicago White Sox’s remarkable run put them atop the AL Central at the All-Star break. They added to their division lead in their first game back.
Looking to become the first team in nine years to post two winning streaks of at least 10 games in the same season, Chicago continues its four-game set Friday against the Minnesota Twins, who will be without All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau(notes).
In third place and 9 1/2 games back of the previous division leader Minnesota on June 8, the White Sox (50-38) won 25 of 30 to take a one-half game division lead over Detroit heading into the break. Chicago pushed its winning streak to nine and moved a full game ahead of the idle Tigers as it opened a 10-game trip Thursday with an 8-7 victory over Minnesota.
“We’ve been playing good baseball,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski(notes) said. “We’ve been catching the ball, we’ve been pitching, just doing things right. We’ve kind of been playing Twins baseball. Just catching the ball and throwing strikes and doing what we need to do to win.”
The White Sox, who won 11 straight from June 15-26, will try to become the first team with two double-digit winning streaks in the same season since the 2001 St. Louis Cardinals, who had undefeated stretches of 10 and 11 games.
The Twins (46-43), meanwhile, have dropped seven of nine and will be without Morneau until at least July 23 after placing him on the disabled list Thursday with a concussion.
The right-hander is trying to win a fourth straight start for the first time in his career. Floyd has surrendered one run or fewer in six of seven starts, and the White Sox have won the last five times he’s taken the mound.
“That’s five, six starts this kid’s thrown that we expect from him, what we’re looking for,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’ official website after Floyd allowed one run and six hits over 7 2-3 innings of Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Kansas City. “Every time out starts go out there for seven-plus, six-plus, we have a chance, we’re in the game and that’s what we’re doing. I don’t know much about pitching, but Gavin could have the best stuff on our staff.”
The left-hander gave up a career high-tying seven runs and lasted just 1 2-3 innings in Friday’s 7-3 loss at Detroit.
“I think I tried to make some perfect pitches and was rushing, trying to do a little bit too much,” Liriano told the Twins’ official website. “That’s when I get behind in the count and I’ve been getting hurt so far.”
Liriano walked a season-high five and pitched six innings of four-hit ball in a 4-3, 11-inning victory in Chicago on April 9. He is 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA in four starts against the White Sox.