White Sox-Twins Preview
A month removed from being swept in a four-game set at Minnesota, the Chicago White Sox are in position to return the favor.
They can pull off a four-game sweep there for the first time Sunday while adding to the Twins' recent struggles at home.
Chicago (51-54) blew leads in every game at Target Field from June 19-22 and lost all four but hasn't trailed in this series, outscoring the Twins 21-7. Chris Sale struck out 12 over eight innings and Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run homer in Saturday's 7-0 victory.
"We've got all the right pieces in all the right places," Sale said. "It's just a matter of stringing some wins together. Obviously we're all very comfortable with each other and we have confidence in each other to go out there and produce and to win games."
Though the White Sox swept three-game sets at Minnesota in 2011 and 2012, they have not had a four-game road sweep of their AL Central rival since May 18-20, 1947, when the Twins were known as the Washington Senators.
Minnesota (46-57), a loser in 11 of 14 at Target Field, has trailed by at least five runs after 5 1/2 innings in each of the first three games of this series.
"It's tough to play from behind," first baseman Chris Colabello said. "Especially when you lose a couple in row, you get behind again and all of a sudden negative thoughts went through your mind and it's tough to fight those sometimes."
Colabello is in a 2-for-21 funk and Brian Dozier is hitless in this series, making him 4 for 32 over the last eight games.
As the Twins offense slumps, Chicago has plenty of hot hitters.
Ramirez has homered in two straight games and is batting .409 with four RBIs in the last five. Rookie Jose Abreu is batting .358 during a 16-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 34 of 35. Conor Gillaspie is 7 for 13 in this series and batting .531 with five doubles and 11 runs in his last nine road games.
Chicago's Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.52 ERA) also was on a roll, pitching 11 2-3 scoreless innings to win two straight road starts before the All-Star break, but he gave up five runs and 11 hits in five innings of a 7-1 home loss to Kansas City on Tuesday.
"I have to be better," said the rookie right-hander, who is 3-6 with a 5.50 ERA in 10 starts this season.
Carroll yielded two hits but no runs in 3 2-3 innings of relief during a 4-3 loss at Minnesota on June 21.
Trevor Plouffe had two of the six hits Saturday for Minnesota, which is 2-7 on the 10-game homestand that's followed the All-Star break. Plouffe is batting .429 against the White Sox this season.
Minnesota's Yohan Pino (1-3, 4.64) yielded two runs in 11 innings to go 1-0 in two starts prior to giving up four in 6 1-3 innings of an 8-2 defeat to Cleveland on Tuesday.
In his major league debut June 19, the 30-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and struck out seven in seven innings while not factoring in the decision of 4-2 home victory over Chicago.
Abreu went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Pino.