The Minnesota Twins have typically been a thorn in the Chicago White Sox's side, but not this year.
Back in sole possession of first place in the AL Central, the White Sox look to win their seventh straight at home over the Twins on Tuesday night.
Prior to this season, Chicago hadn't posted a winning season record against Minnesota since 2005, but a 4-2 victory Monday improved the White Sox to 10-3 against their division rival with five games remaining.
The last two series between the clubs have come at opportune times.
Chicago (73-61) began the week tied with Detroit for first place in the Central after the Tigers completed a three-game sweep Sunday.
"I knew what today meant and I knew today was a big game especially after (Sunday's) 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."
The White Sox's previous series against the AL-worst Twins (55-80) also came at a good time. They had been swept in a three-game set at Comerica Park from July 20-22 to fall into second place in the division, but returned home and took all three from Minnesota to regain the Central lead.
Although Chicago won its season-best eighth straight at home, it still struggled with men in scoring position. It was 2 for 32 before Paul Konerko 's two-out, RBI single in the seventh.
Konerko continued to deliver against the Twins, extending his hitting streak in the series to 11 games dating to last year. He is 16 for 26 (.615) with four homers, two doubles and 10 RBIs in seven games against them at U.S. Cellular Field this year.
The veteran first baseman, however, is 0 for 3 lifetime against Tuesday's scheduled starter Scott Diamond (10-6, 3.21 ERA), who is winless in his last four starts - all Minnesota losses. The left-hander gave up five runs over seven innings of a 5-2 defeat to Seattle last Tuesday."That's been my goal every game, to try to go as deep as I can, at least seven," Diamond said. "Even though the outcome wasn't so great, I've got to take it as a positive."
Going deep against the White Sox hasn't been a problem, but picking up wins has been. Diamond is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts spanning 13 1-3 innings against them this year, but was provided with two runs of support.
He'll try to help Minnesota avoid a 12th loss in 16 road games and the Twins have had little trouble against Chicago's Jose Quintana (5-3, 3.17).
The rookie left-hander has allowed 10 runs - eight earned - and 18 hits over 13 1-3 innings in two starts against the Twins, escaping without any decisions.
Quintana had one of his worst outings of the season Thursday at Baltimore, yielding five runs and seven hits - including two homers - over 3 2-3 innings of a 5-3 loss.
He has been much better at home, where he has a 2.64 ERA in eight appearances - seven starts - as opposed to a 3.55 mark in 11 road games.
Josh Willingham , who went 0 for 4 Monday after missing the previous game with a sore hamstring, is 4 for 5 with two homers against Quintana.
|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) -- Scott Diamond enjoyed plenty of run support from his teammates once again.
Chris Parmelee homered to cap a 10-run fifth inning and Minnesota routed the Chicago White Sox 18-9 on Tuesday night.
It was the second time the Twins reached double digits in an inning this year. They also had a 10-run outburst Aug. 6 against Cleveland during Diamond's previous win.
"I can't complain, that's for sure," Diamond said.
Minnesota also batted around in a seven-run second against rookie Jose Quintana , but first-place Chicago remained one game ahead of Detroit in the AL Central. The Tigers lost 3-2 to Cleveland.
The Twins pecked away methodically with 17 hits - only three went for extra bases. Every starter had a hit by the fifth inning.
"Balls were flying all over the place, as they always do in this ballpark," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Fortunately, we were on the good side of it. That's crazy. We've seen it here before."
Parmelee drove in four runs while Ryan Doumit had three hits and three RBIs. Doumit hit a solo homer in the seventh and scored three times.
Minnesota's Eduardo Escobar had two hits and three RBIs against his former team.
"Everyone contributed up and down our lineup. That's a beautiful thing," Josh Willingham said.
Chicago outfielder Dewayne Wise pitched a scoreless ninth for the White Sox, who had a franchise-record 10 doubles - five in a four-run eighth.
Diamond made his first start since Aug. 28. He served a six-game suspension for throwing near the head of Texas slugger Josh Hamilton on Aug. 23.
Diamond (11-6) settled down after a rough first inning to hold the White Sox to four runs and seven hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked two.
"I'm just more excited to pitch again after the suspension and everything," he said. "It was good to get back out there. It definitely felt like I had extra juice flowing."
Minnesota fell behind after a three-run first, but responded with seven runs in the second and 10 in the fifth for its fourth win in 14 games against Chicago this season.
Parmelee's three-run shot extended the lead to 17-4. White Sox manager Robin Ventura emptied his bench in the bottom of the fifth, leaving only two starters in.
"It's one of those games where they were putting it in play," Ventura said. "They had good at-bats. It's worse if you make an error and lose a game or play sloppy that way. This is just one of those, we'll forget this one and play tomorrow."
Dayan Viciedo 's two-out double capped a three-run first inning for Chicago. Alex Rios singled on a 1-2 pitch to drive in Adam Dunn a batter earlier, and Paul Konerko drove in the first run with an RBI groundout.
Quintana (5-4) couldn't hold the lead very long as the Twins broke loose for seven runs in the second.
Coming off the shortest start of his young career, 3 2-3 innings at Baltimore, the 23-year-old lefty lasted just 1 1-3 innings as Minnesota pecked away with walks and singles.
Dylan Axelrod allowed both inherited runners to score in relief of Quintana, who was charged with seven earned runs and five hits.
Minnesota sent 12 batters to the plate. Nine reached base, but the Twins had no extra-base hits in the inning.
Justin Morneau singled twice in the second. He walked and scored twice in the fifth.
Escobar drove in a pair with a bases-loaded single in the second after being called up from the minors earlier in the day. He came to the Twins as a part of the July 28 trade that sent pitcher Francisco Liriano to Chicago.
"It was very exciting to see Escobar out there have some big hits for us early in the ballgame when it was a close ballgame," Gardenhire said. "One opened it up, the single. After that, it was non-stop."
Axelrod was called up from Double-A Birmingham earlier in the day. He is expected to make some spot starts down the stretch to give White Sox starters an extra day of rest, but will primarily come on in long relief for the time being, according to Ventura.
Minnesota batted around again in a 10-run fifth, sending 14 hitters to the plate. Phil Humber took the brunt of that beating, allowing eight runs while recording just one out.
It was the second time the Twins reached double digits in an inning this year. They also had a 10-run outburst Aug. 6 against Cleveland.
Chicago set season highs for runs allowed in an inning and a game.
Wise was the first position player to pitch for Chicago since Dave Martinez on Aug. 4, 1995. He also got two outs without yielding a run against the White Sox with the New York Yankees on June 29.
NOTES: White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski was given the night off with a lefty on the mound. ... The Twins called up RHP Luis Perdomo from Triple-A Rochester. ... Twins general manager Terry Ryan said he hopes OF Denard Span (shoulder) can come off the disabled list when he's eligible on Sept. 12. Span has been taking swings in the cage. ... RHP Matt Capps (rotator cuff) has been throwing on flat ground. ... Jake Peavy (9-10, 3.28 ERA) will pitch the rubber game of the series Wednesday for Chicago against P.J. Walters (2-2, 5.40).