(Sports Network) - First place in the American League Central is on the line tonight in Chicago, where the White Sox wrap a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Twins and White Sox entered this series tied atop the standings before Minnesota grabbed a short-lived lead with Monday's 12-6 victory, winning for a third straight game, but Chicago erased that deficit last night with a 6-1 triumph.
John Danks allowed just a run over eight innings and struck out seven, while Carlos Quentin paced the offense with a two-run homer. The White Sox snapped a three-game slide and have homered in a season-high 10 straight games.
"It's just another game in August," Danks said. "If we play this same game come mid-September it will be a bigger game."
Alexei Ramirez doubled in a run and scored twice for Chicago, which was without Andruw Jones due to a sore back.
Michael Cuddyer had two hits and drove in the Twins' lone run, but Glen Perkins was charged with six runs -- four earned -- over 4 2/3 innings in his first big league start in over a year. He was recalled before the game to replace the injured Kevin Slowey (elbow).
"It was an ugly baseball game for us. We made a lot of mistakes out there. It cost us a lot of runs," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose club fell to 5-4 on a 10-game road trip.
Minnesota also saw two players exit early last night, as a nagging left wrist injury forced J.J. Hardy out in the seventh inning, while left-handed reliever Jose Mijares suffered a right knee injury when trying to cover first base. He is likely to land on the disabled list.
The Twins will also have to deal with one of baseball's hottest starters in Gavin Floyd, who has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last 12 starts with a 1.19 earned run average in that span.
The right-hander has won three straight starts and six of his last seven decisions. He was 2-6 with a 6.64 ERA before his 12-game run, but is now 8-8 with a 3.49 ERA. Floyd won in Baltimore on Saturday, yielding two runs on six hits over seven innings.
Floyd, 27, is 4-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 career starts versus the Twins and lost to them on July 16 after allowing four runs -- one earned -- over five innings.
Francisco Liriano was the Twins' winning pitcher on that day and he counters Floyd again tonight. Liriano is 1-3 with a 5.82 ERA in his career versus the White Sox and gave up two runs over 7 2/3 innings versus them and Floyd nearly a month ago.
The 26-year-old lefty carried a 21 scoreless-innings streak into his last start on Friday, but that run came to an end in the first frame on Friday versus Cleveland. Liriano allowed four runs on seven hits and six walks over 4 2/3 frames in all, getting a no-decision.
Liriano is 10-7 on the year with a 3.33 ERA.
Minnesota has won seven of the 11 meetings with Chicago thus far in 2010. The Twins have also won in seven of their last nine trips to U.S. Cellular Field.