Chicago (65-53) at Minnesota (68-50)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Tue Aug 17, 2010
  • TV: WCIU, FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Minnesota Twins wasted no time building their lead atop the AL Central after taking first place from the Chicago White Sox in their previous series.

The Twins will try to further pad their advantage as the teams open a three-game set Tuesday night at Target Field.

Minnesota (68-50) is a major league-best 17-4 since July 24, winning seven of eight to move three games ahead of Chicago (65-53). The Twins took two of three at U.S. Cellular Field last week after they entered the series tied for first.

“It should be fun, I think that’s what baseball’s about,” Jim Thome(notes) told the Twins’ official website. “It makes it fun for each city to root for both teams. I know our fans will be excited.”

Minnesota’s play at home is a big reason for its run. The club has won seven straight at Target Field, sweeping Oakland there over the weekend.

The Twins are 4-2 at home against Chicago, taking the last three matchups.

On Sunday, Kevin Slowey(notes) didn’t allow a hit through seven innings but was pulled to start the eighth, while Thome hit a three-run homer in the seventh en route to a 4-2 victory.

Slowey, who missed his previous start because of elbow tendinitis, had thrown 106 pitches.

“I would boo me too,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I took a pitcher out with a no-hitter going. But I would do it 1,000 times the same way.”

Slowey didn’t get a chance to complete a no-hitter, but he continued the Twins’ pitching dominance at home. They’ve allowed eight runs in the last seven home games, and opponents are batting .188 in that span.

Scott Baker(notes) (10-9, 4.76 ERA) will try to extend the trend for Minnesota, which hasn’t won eight in a row at home since April 19-May 9, 2008.

Baker beat the White Sox on Tuesday for his third straight win. He gave up five runs in six innings of a 12-6 win to improve to 2-0 against them this year and 6-3 over his career.

Chicago’s John Danks(notes) (12-8, 3.19), however, has been just as tough.

Danks has won five of his last six decisions and has a 1.93 ERA over his last five starts. The left-hander allowed one run in eight innings of a 6-1 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday.

“I hate pitching against this team, I’m not going to lie to you,” said Danks, who is 6-6 with a 5.01 ERA lifetime against the Twins.

Michael Cuddyer(notes), who is 20 for 41 lifetime against Danks, is 4 for 11 against him this year.

Chicago dropped two of three to Detroit at home, losing 13-8 on Sunday.

J.J. Putz(notes) blew a save for a second straight game, giving up three runs in the eighth after his team rallied from a 5-1 deficit.

Chicago’s bullpen, which is without injured closer Bobby Jenks(notes) (back spasms), has a 7.06 ERA over the last seven games and had to pitch more than two innings in five of those games.

“To me, a very bad homestand,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’s official website. “Very bad pitching. When we pitch well, we’re not hitting. That makes a combination for a very poor homestand. We’ve got to prepare better for the next road trip and play better, there’s no doubt.”

Related Articles

Starting Pitchers

J. Danks CWS vs. S. Baker Tex
15-11 Record 12-9
3.72 ERA 4.49
162 K 148
70 BB 43
1.22 WHIP 1.34

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Aug 17