(Updated: UPDATES that Twins hold half-game lead over Angels for second wild card)
The Minnesota Twins continue to showcase power up and down the lineup and hope their bats stay hot when they continue a five-game series at the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. With three more home runs in Tuesday’s 4-1 victory, the Twins have produced 17 long balls in their last six games and are averaging more than two per contest during their 13-4 run.
The surge has Minnesota holding down a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild card in the American League. An unlikely power source has emerged in the Twins’ homer-happy stretch, as light-hitting shortstop Jorge Polanco - who had seven career homers in 172 games prior to the series - has gone deep in each of the first three games versus the White Sox. Chicago still had an encouraging night with prospect Lucas Giolito spinning six promising innings in his debut with the rebuilding club. The 23-year-old Giolito will be followed up on the mound by 35-year-old James Shields, who starts Wednesday for the White Sox opposite Minnesota star veteran Ervin Santana.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), CSN Chicago Plus
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Ervin Santana (13-7, 3.33 ERA) vs. White Sox RH James Shields (2-4, 5.72)
Santana has a chance to match his best win total since 2010 - when he won a career-high 17 - after defeating Arizona his last time out. He limited the Diamondbacks to three runs in six innings for his third quality start in four outings this month. The 34-year-old spun 15 scoreless frames over two starts versus Chicago in April but was roughed up for six runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings in a rematch June 20, which left him 11-8 with a 3.68 ERA lifetime against the White Sox.
Shields entered August with a 6.19 ERA but he’s been a bit better this month, tossing back-to-back quality starts before yielding two runs in 5 1/3 innings at Texas on Friday. The California native controlled the Twins through six frames in a solid outing earlier this year and he is 8-8 with a 4.20 ERA in 22 career starts versus Minnesota. Brian Dozier has enjoyed loads of success against Shields, going 12-for-32 with four homers and five doubles.
1. White Sox RF Avisail Garcia has multiple hits in eight of 12 games since coming off the disabled list earlier this month.
2. Twins LF Eddie Rosario also homered Tuesday and has seven RBIs over his last four games.
3. Minnesota has won eight of its last 10 at Chicago.
PREDICTION: Twins 7, White Sox 3