Twins-White Sox Preview


The Minnesota Twins are teeing off on the Chicago White Sox, and Oswaldo Arcia is leading the way.

Arcia has a chance to become the first Twin in 49 years to homer in four straight games against the White Sox as visiting Minnesota goes for a six-game winning streak over its AL Central rivals Saturday.

The Twins (51-62) are batting .303 with 14 homers and 32 runs while winning five straight games against Chicago (43-71).

Minnesota got off to a powerful start in this four-game set, connecting for four homers to win 7-5 in the opener of a day-night doubleheader Friday. It swept the twinbill with three more long balls, including Arcia's solo shot in the 10th inning of a 3-2 victory.

Arcia also hit a solo shot in the eighth inning of the opener.

"The ball flies here," manager Ron Gardenhire said of U.S. Cellular Field. "We put some good swings out there, got enough runs."

The rookie outfielder from Venezuela is doing that on a regular basis against the White Sox, going 5 for 14 in his last three games in the series.

If Arcia hits another out of the park Saturday, he'll become the first Twin to homer in four straight against Chicago since Bob Allison in 1964. He'd also become the first Minnesota rookie to do it against any opponent since Kent Hrbek versus Kansas City in 1982.

The Twins will try for a seventh win in nine games by giving the ball to Mike Pelfrey (4-9, 5.23), who certainly wouldn't mind seeing Minnesota continue to send some balls into the U.S. Cellular Field seats.

Pelfrey has been better over the past five weeks since returning from a stint on the disabled list with a back strain. He's posted a 3.31 ERA in his last six starts - his ERA was at 6.11 when he hit the DL - though he's 1-3 as Minnesota has given him five total runs of support in his last five.

The right-hander gave up nine runs and 18 hits - three homers - over 10 innings in a pair of home starts against the White Sox earlier this season.

Though Pelfrey's numbers haven't been bad lately, he's still not getting very deep into games. He labored through 104 pitches in five innings Sunday, allowing two runs in five innings before Arcia's seventh-inning homer provided the difference in a 3-2 win over Houston.

"I made two starts this homestand, and I threw nine innings total, which is terrible," Pelfrey told the Twins' official website. "They definitely needed more innings ... out of the starter, and I wasn't able to do it, which is unfortunate."

He'll be opposed by rookie Andre Rienzo (0-0, 1.38), who gets his third chance at becoming the first Brazilian to win a game in the majors.

The right-hander blanked the Tigers for six innings Sunday, but started the seventh by walking two batters who ended up scoring before exiting a game Detroit won 3-2 in 12.

"Need to work more for my next one so that kind of mistake don't happen again," Rienzo told the team's official website. "It's not about me, it about the team. I helped the team with six innings. Next time I hope to have more."

Adam Dunn is on a tear recently, hitting .378 over 11 games after getting two hits in Friday's nightcap. Still, the slugger has homered just once in 14 games.

Dunn, though, has a double and a homer in five at-bats versus Pelfrey this year.