The Minnesota Twins finish up their 2022 home schedule on Thursday afternoon as they try and complete a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox in Minneapolis.
Minnesota (76-79) and Chicago (76-79) enter the contest tied for second place in the American League Central, 11 games behind the champion Cleveland Guardians. Both teams were officially eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday night when the Seattle Mariners defeated the Texas Rangers 3-1.
Twins right-hander Louie Varland (0-2, 5.06 ERA) will make his fourth major league appearance and first against the White Sox on Thursday. Chicago will counter with right-hander Lucas Giolito (10-9, 5.06).
Giolito, who has made five starts since his last win on Aug. 24 at Baltimore, is 7-8 with a 4.30 ERA in 18 career starts against Minnesota. He is 5-2 with a 3.35 ERA in nine career starts in Minneapolis, where he hurled a three-hit complete game with 12 strikeouts in a 4-0 win in 2019.
The White Sox matched their season-high losing streak of eight games with an 8-4 loss to the Twins on Wednesday. Chicago also dropped eight in a row from April 17-26.
If there was a bright spot for interim manager Miguel Cairo's squad it was the fact the White Sox actually showed some semblance of an offense, finishing with four runs on nine hits. Chicago had scored a total of three runs on 13 hits over its previous three losses and was two-hit by the Twins in a 4-0 defeat on Tuesday.
"Today we get better at-bats," Cairo said. "We got some hits, we got some runs, but they got more than us. (The offense) was better today, We got some hits with two outs. We got it going a little bit. Hopefully (Thursday) we get some more."
Cairo was asked about his team matching its worst skid of the year.
"There's nothing else you can say," Cairo said. "Just put it behind, come back (Thursday) and do better. It's that simple."
Minnesota got a big game from the middle of its order. Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, Jake Cave and rookie Matt Wallner combined to go 10-for-14 with two walks, six runs and five RBIs.
Leadoff man Luis Arraez also had a big game, going 2-for-5 with an RBI and moving into a virtual dead heat with Aaron Judge in the American League batting race. Judge, who tied Roger Maris' AL single-season home run mark with his 61st on Wednesday in Toronto, is batting .3134 while Arraez is hitting .3133.
"I look at it," Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said, according to the Saint Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. "I hope he looks at it a lot less than I look at it. But you know what? ... It's exciting. It's fun."
Arraez said, "I saw Judge got .313 and we're tied right now, but I don't pay attention too much. I just want to go out there and get my hits because we've got, I think, seven more games. I just try and get seven hits or maybe more. But I just go out there and enjoy. I just need to enjoy the game and then finish strong."
The last Twins player to win a batting title was catcher Joe Mauer in 2009, when he batted .365 en route to winning the AL Most Valuable Player award.
--Field Level Media