The Minnesota Twins refuse to wilt in their pursuit of a postseason berth and open a six-game homestand with the first of three against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. Minnesota is holding down the No. 2 wild card in the American League as they brace for a rematch against the White Sox, who took three of five from the Twins last week in Chicago.
Minnesota rebounded from the Chicago series by taking two of three in Toronto over the weekend, winning the rubber match behind three homers and five RBIs from Byron Buxton, who has gone deep eight times in the past 16 games. “He’s got a lot of ways he can help you win games,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said after his team won for the 15th time in 22 games. “His legs, bunting, home runs, defense, arm. It’s fun to watch some of that talent start to flourish.” The White Sox are languishing in the basement of the AL Central but have won four of their last five after winning two of three against Detroit. Right fielder Avisail Garcia is 15-for-30 over the past nine games to boost his batting average to .322.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox RH James Shields (2-4, 5.63 ERA) vs. Twins RH Ervin Santana (13-7, 3.24)
Shields is winless over his last nine outings, although he turned in a quality start against the Twins in his last turn, permitting three runs on three hits over six innings in a no-decision. The long ball continues to victimize the 35-year-old, who has surrendered 13 of his 20 homers over the nine-start winless drought. Brian Dozier has lit up Shields, going 12-for-34 with four homers and 10 RBIs.
Santana also came away with a no-decision in his matchup against Shields in his last start despite permitting just two runs (one earned) on three hits over seven innings. The All-Star selection is unbeaten is in last six starts and owns a 2-0 record with 10 earned runs allowed over the past five outings. Jose Abreu is 9-for-21 against Santana, who sports a 3-0 mark and a 2.33 ERA versus Chicago this season.
1. Twins SS Jorge Polanco homered in four straight games and drove in nine runs in last week’s series at Chicago.
2. White Sox rookie 3B Matt Davidson was 3-for-8 with a three-run shot in his first two games coming off the disabled list.
3. Buxton was 7-for-13 with seven RBIs and six runs scored in the three-game set at Toronto.
PREDICTION: Twins 4, White Sox 3