Adam Dunn 's 406 home runs are the most among active players without a postseason appearance.
The Chicago White Sox slugger, who acknowledges the homers get more meaningful the closer it gets to October, could be getting his first taste of playoff baseball shortly.
Dunn looks to help the White Sox build on a thrilling victory and maintain their slim lead atop the AL Central when they face the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday afternoon.
It appeared Chicago (82-71) was going to drop into a first-place tie with Detroit with the way things were looking in the late innings in Monday's opener with the Indians (63-91). The Tigers had already won, and the White Sox were on the verge of dropping their sixth in a row, trailing 3-2 in the eighth with two out and one on. Kevin Youkilis then hit an infield single and Dunn followed with his second homer of the game, 41st of the year, helping lift Chicago to a 5-4 win that kept the club a game up on Detroit."The last homer, that probably was the most important so far in my career," said Dunn, who entered the homestand mired in 2-for-23 slump. "That was a win we needed."
Dunn has now reached the 40-homer mark six times, and is hoping to make the playoffs for the first time in his 12-year career."Obviously everybody wants to get to the postseason, but it's just fun," said Dunn, who is batting .333 with five homers and nine RBIs in seven home games against Cleveland. "It's fun right now when every single game matters. I think a lot of times you put a lot of pressure on yourself. Take a step back once in a while."
Things aren't quite as fun for the Indians, who've lost 42 of 55 and own the AL's worst record. They've also lost the last six meetings with Chicago, and haven't dropped seven straight in the series since 1985.
The White Sox have switched the time of Tuesday's matchup up six hours from 7:10 p.m. CDT to avoid a conflict with Yom Kippur. Youkilis, who is Jewish, told reporters the switch was a good move for the playoff stretch because now he would be able to play on that day.
For the afternoon start, the White Sox will turn to Francisco Liriano (6-11, 5.24 ERA), who allowed three runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings but left without a decision in Thursday's 4-3 loss to Kansas City.
The left-hander is 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA in his last six starts against the Indians, but he hasn't faced them as a starter since July last season. He's made two relief appearances against them since.
Despite his success versus Cleveland, Asdrubal Cabrera has always given him trouble, going 12 for 22 (.545) in their matchups.
Cabrera doubled twice Monday, and is batting .333 with seven walks against Chicago.
Cleveland's Corey Kluber (1-4, 5.36) will be making his first appearance against the White Sox since throwing a scoreless inning of relief Sept. 22 last season, his second big league game.
The right-hander gave up three runs and five hits in six innings in Thursday's 4-3, 10-inning win over Minnesota, helping the Indians win for just the second time in his 10 starts.
|Alejandro De Aza||0||.000||0||0||0||1||0||1.000||1.000||.000|
|September 19, 2012||Asdrubal Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right wrist|
|September 15, 2012||Jason Donald||Day-to-Day||Right forearm contusion|
|September 13, 2012||Michael Brantley||Day-to-Day||Sore left pectoral muscle|
|September 09, 2012||Asdrubal Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right wrist|
|August 27, 2012||Roberto Hernandez||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right ankle|
|August 13, 2012||Josh Tomlin||60-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|Chicago White Sox|
|September 07, 2012||Adam Dunn||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|August 27, 2012||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|August 27, 2012||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|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|
CHICAGO (AP) -- For the first time in more than three weeks, the Chicago White Sox have company atop the AL Central.
The White Sox gave Detroit an opening to tie for the division lead when Gordon Beckham hit into a game-ending forceout with the potential tying run on second base Tuesday in a 4-3 loss to the last-place Cleveland Indians .
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "(Detroit is) not going to go away. They'll keep playing hard."
Hours later, Anibal Sanchez pitched a three-hitter for the Tigers in a 2-0 victory over Kansas City that left both Detroit and Chicago at 82-72 with eight games to go.
Chicago had been alone in first place since Sept. 3.
The White Sox have lost six of seven and have had trouble scoring without the long ball of late. Three solo homers were all the offense Chicago mustered Tuesday.
Down 4-0, the White Sox rallied when Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo hit consecutive fifth-inning home runs off Corey Kluber (2-4) and then pulled within a run when Paul Konerko homered off Chris Perez leading off the ninth.
"It's just going to take some hits together that don't go over the fence," Beckham said. "If you string hits together, you usually score runs. It happens that a lot of ours go over the fence."
Perez walked a pair of batters with two outs, and Beckham grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera , who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force.
"Every day there's close games," Konerko said. "Today was obviously not a step in the right direction. It was a tough game. We showed some heart to battle back. At this point of the season, you need the victories."
After Wednesday night's series finale, the White Sox host a four-game series against Tampa Bay and then close with three games in Cleveland.
Detroit finishes its four-game series against Kansas City on Thursday, then winds up with a pair of three-game series at Minnesota and the Royals.
Francisco Liriano (6-12) allowed all four runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings. He is 1-2 with a 6.30 ERA in his past seven appearances.
Kluber (2-4) gave up four hits in seven innings, retiring nine of his last 10 batters. Vinnie Pestano and Perez completed the six-hitter, with Perez gaining his 37th save in 41 chances.
"He grew a little as a pitcher today," Indians manager Manny Acta said of Kluber. "That was a well-pitched ballgame, a crucial situation for (the White Sox)."
Russ Canzler had three hits and homered for the second straight game, putting Cleveland ahead in the second inning.
Canzler doubled between a pair of walks as the Indians loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, and Thomas Neal barely beat out a potential double-play grounder as Carlos Santana scored.
Upset by first base umpire Jerry Layne's call, Pierzynski jumped up and down at home plate.
Ezequiel Carrera and Shin-Soo Choo followed with consecutive RBI singles that chased Liriano.
Notes: Pierzynski has a career-best 27 homers. Only Carlton Fisk has more homers in a season by a White Sox catcher, with 37 in 1985. ... Chicago has hit back-to-back homers 10 times this year. ... The teams are a combined 2 for 8 in steal attempts this series. ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura shuffled his rotation, giving starter Jake Peavy an extra day of rest. Peavy will pitch the series opener against the Rays on Thursday, and lefty Hector Santiago (3-1, 3.45 ERA) was plugged in for the series finale against Cleveland on Wednesday. The Indians start RHP Justin Masterson (11-15, 4.97). ... Ventura said LHP Chris Sale was going to get an extra day of rest prior to the game, but the team announced after the game that he would pitch Saturday on regular rest. ... Cleveland RHP Roberto Hernandez (sprained right ankle) will throw three innings in a simulated game Wednesday. Acta said Hernandez will possibly throw one more simulated game after that and be done for the season.