The Chicago White Sox went cold at the plate at an inopportune time. A return home to face the Minnesota Twins could help.
The White Sox will try to avoid matching a season high with their fifth straight loss Monday night when they open a 10-game homestand against the Twins.
Following a 1-6 road trip in which they dropped three of four at Baltimore and were swept by Detroit, the White Sox (72-61) return home tied with the Tigers atop the Central following a 4-2 loss Sunday night.
Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a home run off Justin Verlander , but Chicago mustered just six hits the rest of the way - three in the ninth - and Delmon Young hit a tie-breaking, three-run shot off Chris Sale in the sixth.
Chicago went 2 for 27 with runners in scoring position during the sweep and hit .216 while averaging 3.0 runs over the trip.
"You can't sit here and wish for something," manager Robin Ventura said. "You've got to go play. It's going to turn around."
The offense has had little trouble at home, however. The White Sox have won their last seven games at U.S. Cellular Field and are 21-5 there since late June. They've hit 38 home runs over the last 18 games in Chicago while averaging 6.1 runs per game.
Kevin Youkilis may be particularly eager for a return to the South Side. In 22 home games with the White Sox, he's hitting .351 with eight homers and 25 RBIs. Youkilis, though, is hitless in his last 19 at-bats.
He'll look to help the White Sox win their sixth straight at home over the Twins, having outscored them 43-18 during that five-game run.
While Minnesota hopes to improve on its 3-9 overall record against Chicago, playing spoiler in the division race is secondary to finishing the season strong.
"You will play and have an impact on (the divisional race)," manager Ron Gardenhire told the team's official website. "But that's not your No. 1 goal, is to have an impact on who wins. It's to really right yourself, finish off the season, at least have a little bit of a good feeling going into the winter."
The Twins failed in a bid for a three-game sweep at Kansas City on Sunday, losing 6-4 for their 18th defeat in 24 games.
Joe Mauer will take a hot bat into this series. He's hitting .344 over the last eight games and is 8 for his last 15 with three extra-base hits. He is a career .362-hitter at U.S. Cellular Field and is 6 for 19 there this year.
Samuel Deduno (5-2, 3.72 ERA) will make his first start against the White Sox on Monday, looking to build off seven innings of two-hit ball in a 10-0 win over Seattle on Wednesday. The rookie right-hander had no walks after issuing 37 free passes over his previous 51 innings."Today I came out aggressive with all my pitches," Deduno said. "Fastball, changeup, curveball. Everything was working today."
Chicago counters with Hector Santiago (2-1, 3.91), who is making his first career start.
Santiago, who began the year as the White Sox closer, made three starts in Triple-A Charlotte before being recalled in mid-August and didn't allow a run over 14 2-3 innings.
Chicago's Adam Dunn , the AL leader with 38 homers, missed the last two games with a strained oblique and his status for the opener is uncertain.
|September 02, 2012||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Slightly strained left hamstring|
|August 28, 2012||Denard Span||Day-to-Day||Sore right collarbone|
|August 28, 2012||Denard Span||15-Day DL||Strained right sternoclavicular joint|
|August 24, 2012||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|August 12, 2012||Denard Span||Day-to-Day||Left game - right shoulder injury|
|July 25, 2012||Anthony Swarzak||15-Day DL||Mild right rotator cuff strain|
|Chicago White Sox|
|August 27, 2012||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|August 26, 2012||Gavin Floyd||Day-to-Day||Right elbow discomfort|
|August 25, 2012||Dayan Viciedo||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder soreness|
|August 19, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 18, 2012||Alejandro De Aza||15-Day DL||Bruised left ribcage|
|August 18, 2012||Alejandro De Aza||15-Day DL||Bruised left ribcage|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Hector Santiago was unexpectedly thrown back into the stopper role on Monday night.
This time the converted closer was needed to help end a skid.
Santiago won in his first major league start and Gordon Beckham hit a two-run homer as the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2 on Monday night.
After falling out of sole possession of first place in the AL Central on Sunday night following a 1-6 road trip and being swept by the Tigers, the White Sox won the first of a 10-game homestand. They moved a game up on Detroit, which lost to Cleveland 3-2.
"Hector did a great job. You ask him to start, a guy that's gone from being a closer and being in the bullpen. He got sent down and stretched him out. This is a big one," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You're asking him to stop a losing streak and he pitched a great game."
With the White Sox playing at night on Sunday, Santiago was sent back home ahead of the team flight.
"I got home last night and watched the entire game. I watched every inning. I knew what today meant and I knew today was a big game especially after the game was over and we lost," said Santiago. "I knew I had to come out and be ready and give ourselves a chance to win."
Many of the White Sox players watched the Tigers' last out before going out to stretch while manager Robin Ventura practiced his putting in his office.
The White Sox have won eight straight at home and 22 of their last 27 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Jamey Carroll hit his first home run in three seasons for the Twins, who are 25 games below .500.
Santiago (3-1) pitched five-plus innings and allowed one run on three hits. He struck out six and walked three. Santiago started the season as the White Sox closer and later moved to a middle reliever. The rookie was sent to Triple-A Charlotte to be stretched out as a starter.
"It's been fun because you never know what you're going to do," said Santiago. "One day you're closing, the next day you are in long relief, next day coming in against a lefty. Now I'm starting. It's just fun, you never know what to expect. The other day I threw an inning, `You're done, you are starting Monday.' I was like, `OK,' kind of shocking but ... It's kind of exciting because you never know what is going to happen."
Santiago took Gavin Floyd 's turn in the rotation who is out with a sore right shoulder.
Addison Reed pitched a scoreless ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances. The White Sox needed six relievers to secure the win.
Home run leader Adam Dunn was 1 for 3 with a double after missing Chicago's previous two games with an oblique strain.
Twins starter Samuel Deduno (5-3) allowed two runs over six on six hits. He struck out three and walked three.
A.J. Pierzynski led off with a single in the second inning, two outs later, Beckham hit an 0-2 pitch from Deduno over the left-field fence for his 13th of the season.
"I wanted to throw a changeup on the outside, instead it was inside," said Deduno. "That was the mistake."
Carroll hit his first home run since Aug. 9, 2009, with one out in the fifth inning to cut the White Sox lead to 2-1. The long ball for Carroll snapped a streak of 1,348 at-bats without a homer, which was the longest active streak in the majors.
The home run was pulled down the left field line.
"I was just hoping it would stay fair. When I rounded first I saw the umpire give the signal," said Carroll.
Ben Revere robbed Kevin Youkilis of extra bases in the fifth with a running catch on the left-center warning track.
Santiago got help from reliever Nate Jones and Donnie Veal as they stranded Darin Mastroianni at third in the sixth inning.
Youkilis doubled with one out in the seventh off Minnesota reliever Kyle Waldrop . Then with two outs Youkilis scored on Paul Konerko 's single to extend the lead to 3-1. Youkilis earlier snapped out of an 0-for-19 skid and was 2 for 3 on the night.
Joe Mauer doubled in the eighth off reliever Matt Thornton and scored on Justin Morneau 's single to get Minnesota back within one run.
Beckham gave the White Sox an insurance run with his third RBI of the game in the eighth. Alexei Ramirez hit a two-out single then stole second and scored on Beckham's single.
NOTES: The White Sox held a pregame tribute for former reliever and assistant coach Kevin Hickey , who died on May 14. The White Sox dedicated the batting cage in his name. ... Twins are expected to call up INF Eduardo Escobar from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday. Escobar was acquired from the White Sox in the Francisco Liriano deal. Minnesota also plans to call up reliever Luis Perdomo from Rochester on Tuesday. ... Josh Willingham was back in the lineup as the designated hitter after missing a game with a sore hamstring. He was 0 for 4.