The White Sox look to continue their season-long success against the Twins on Saturday.
After losing 11 of 16, Chicago defeated Minnesota 6-0 Friday in the opener of this three-game set. Chris Sale gave up three hits in six innings for his 17th win and Kevin Youkilis homered for the third time in two games.
The White Sox (77-66) improved to 12-4 against the Twins and bounced back after losing two of three in a rain-shortened, four-game series at home against Detroit. Chicago, which maintained its one-game lead on the Tigers in the AL Central, will make up Thursday’s postponed game on Monday.
“As long as we win, what they do doesn’t really matter,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “We’ve just got to go out and try to win games, and hopefully we can do that for the next couple of days.”
The team could receive another lift with the return of Dunn, who leads Chicago with 38 homers and 88 RBIs. He had missed the last seven games with a strained oblique but was in the starting lineup Saturday.
Dunn said Friday he would be ready to go for this game despite not being 100 percent.
“If this is in April, I’m probably going to give it as much time until it feels really good,” he told the White Sox’s official website. “If I wait till it felt 100 percent, then we’d have to play probably until Thanksgiving.”
Dunn has three homers, four doubles and 12 RBIs in 15 games against the Twins in 2012.
Liriano has struggled recently and was moved to the bullpen this week. In a relief appearance against Detroit on Tuesday, he allowed two runs, two hits and hit a batter without recording an out.
The left-hander is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in his last three starts, spanning 14 innings.
Liriano returns to Target Field for a second time as a member of the White Sox. He gave up two runs, four hits and struck out eight over six innings of a 4-3 win July 31 while not receiving a decision.
Minnesota (60-85), which has scored two or fewer runs in four of its last five games versus Chicago, was without Joe Mauer (back) for a fourth straight game Friday. The Twins had won four of six coming in.
They’ll try to avoid a fourth straight home loss to the White Sox as they hand the ball to Samuel Deduno (6-3, 3.55), who is 4-0 with a 2.51 ERA in five starts at Target Field this year.
The right-hander allowed two runs and three hits over seven innings of a 7-2 victory over Cleveland on Monday.
“Everything was working tonight,” Deduno said. “Changeup, curveball, slider. Everything was working.”
Deduno pitched well against the White Sox on Sept. 3, allowing two runs on a second-inning homer in six innings of a 4-2 loss.