Minnesota (64-49) at Chicago (63-50)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 23° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Wed Aug 11, 2010
  • TV: FSNO, WGN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Minnesota Twins are alone in first place for the first time since July 2, while the Chicago White Sox have to be wondering why they can’t seem to solve their AL Central rivals.

No visitor has won a series at U.S. Cellular Field since early June, but Minnesota can snap that drought Wednesday night as it seeks a fifth consecutive victory over the suddenly struggling White Sox.

Manager Ozzie Guillen proclaimed he wasn’t concerned after Chicago totaled 10 runs in dropping three of four at Baltimore over the weekend.

The White Sox improved at the plate in Tuesday’s series opener but fell victim to an offensive onslaught by Minnesota (64-49). The Twins hit a season-high five homers in a 12-6 rout that broke a first-place tie with Chicago, giving them sole possession of the division lead for the first time in nearly six weeks.

“They’re playing well right now,” Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko(notes) said. “We’re playing OK. We’re not bad, we’re not good, we’re just right in the middle.”

The White Sox (63-50) haven’t lost a home series since Cleveland took two of three June 4-6.

One of Minnesota’s homers came from red-hot catcher Joe Mauer(notes). The reigning AL MVP had three hits to raise his average to .543 in his past 12 games, a span in which he’s driven in 19 runs.

“We see stretches like this all the time with him, where he’s just on every ball and getting big hits,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I’d say it amazes me, but I don’t know about that anymore.”

Mauer has certainly shined against the White Sox. He’s hit .444 with 10 RBIs as Minnesota has won seven of 10 in the season series.

Mauer is only hitting .154 (4 for 26) in his last 14 games against left-handers, but John Danks(notes) (11-8, 3.30 ERA) might be a southpaw he can hit. Though Danks has held right-handers to a .194 average - second-best among AL starters - lefties are hitting .288 against him.

Mauer is 12 for 35 (.343) versus Danks, but right-hander Michael Cuddyer(notes) has inflicted far more damage. Cuddyer is 18 for 38 (.474) with five homers off Danks, who is 5-6 with a 5.28 ERA in 16 starts against the Twins.

Danks went at least seven innings and allowed no more than one run for the third time in four starts Friday in a 2-1, 10-inning loss at Baltimore.

Minnesota counters with lefty Glen Perkins(notes), who last pitched in the majors Aug. 8, 2009. Perkins will fill in for Kevin Slowey(notes), who had his start pushed back due to soreness in his right elbow.

Perkins is no stranger to the Twins’ rotation - he was 18-11 with a 5.01 ERA in 43 starts from 2008-2009 - but he’s spent this season with Triple-A Rochester. After beginning 1-8 with an 8.06 ERA, Perkins is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his past seven outings.

“I’ve been through a lot, especially the way the year went down there,” Perkins told the Twins’ official website. “It wasn’t always pretty, but it’s that old cliche - it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

Perkins is 2-1 with a 5.96 ERA in four starts against the White Sox.

Perkins would certainly like to see second baseman Gordon Beckham(notes) - 4 for 5 with a homer against him - on the bench again. Beckham missed Tuesday’s opener with a strained right groin but expects to play Wednesday.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Perkins Min vs. J. Danks CWS
1-1 Record 15-11
5.82 ERA 3.72
14 K 162
5 BB 70
1.57 WHIP 1.22

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 11