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White Sox hope to ride Sale, Abreu against Twins
(SportsNetwork.com) - If you're going to make an unlikely late run to an American League playoff berth, you could do worse than relying on guys like Jose Abreu and Chris Sale.
The dominant rookie slugger and streaking left-handed pitcher will be front and center for the Chicago White Sox on Friday night when they host the Minnesota Twins in the first of three games at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox won two of three from the front-running Detroit Tigers in a midweek series to move within seven games of the top spot in the AL's Central Division.
Chicago has won five of its last seven games, fueled in no small way by Abreu, whose 31 home runs, 83 runs batted in and .636 slugging percentage are each best in the major leagues. He's joined former Boston shortstop Nomar Garciaparra as the only rookies to have 30 home runs and a 20-game hit streak in their initial seasons.
Abreu's 20-game streak has seen him hit .407 with four home runs and 14 RBI.
Meanwhile, Sale leads the league in earned run average and has not been beaten in his last seven starts while going 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA across 50 2/3 innings.
He struck out 12 and allowed five hits in eight scoreless innings of a 5-0 win at Minnesota in his last start on Sunday, which marked the 15th time he's reached double-digit strikeouts.
In seven career meetings with the Twins, Sale is 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA.
Minnesota is last in the AL Central and has won just four of 13 games during a hitting slump that's seen it bat .165 with runners in scoring position.
"We're leaving way too many runners on early in the game," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're not coming up with a big hit and coming up with those extra runs that you need. They show up late."
Rookie lefty Logan Darnell takes the mound for the Twins for his second career start, both against the White Sox.
He lasted five innings and allowed seven runs on 11 hits in his debut on Saturday.
On Thursday in Kansas City, Alcides Escobar's two-run triple broke a tie game in the seventh inning, and the Royals upended the Twins, 6-3, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Danny Santana led off the game with his fourth homer of the year, but the Twins lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, Adam Eaton finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, as the White Sox downed the Tigers, 7-4.
Abreu doubled twice among his three hits, Moises Sierra added four hits and drove in a run, while Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Tyler Flowers contributed an RBI each for the White Sox.
Paul Konerko was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one driven in for Chicago, while Ronald Belisario (4-7) allowed one hit over 1 2/3 scoreless relief innings. John Danks worked the first five, giving up four runs on seven hits with four walks.
Minnesota has won six of 11 from the White Sox this season.
08/01 10:56:53 ET
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