Twins-White Sox Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn has been making his rough 2011 season a distant memory. Gavin Floyd would like to begin doing the same to his seven-start losing streak against the Minnesota Twins.
Floyd will try again to put an end to his skid and lift the White Sox to a season-high fifth consecutive victory Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox (21-21) are looking to move above .500 for the first time since May 1 after completing a sweep of the Cubs with a 6-0 victory Sunday.
Dunn and second baseman Gordon Beckham both homered twice in the series, with Beckham raising his batting average 10 points to .207 while Dunn bringing his to .247.
After hitting a career-worst .159 with 11 home runs and 177 strikeouts in 2011, Dunn has hit 14 homers and driven in a team-high 32 runs this year.
"I'm not a big thinker, I have an approach each game and I try to stick with it," he said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."
It didn't work for him against Minnesota last season, as he went 3 for 39 (.077) with 13 strikeouts and one homer. It was his worst average against an AL Central rival.
Floyd's struggles versus the Twins have been going on for even longer. He's posted a 7.65 ERA in losing his last seven starts to Minnesota, a streak that began in 2009. Three of those starts came at home, with Floyd recording a 10.91 ERA.
The last White Sox pitcher to drop eight consecutive starts against one opponent was Tommy Thomas versus the New York Yankees from 1926-28. To avoid matching that ignominious feat, Floyd (3-4, 3.44 ERA) will almost certainly need to be better than he was his last time out.
The right-hander gave up season highs of seven runs and 10 hits - two homers - over six innings of a 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
Floyd has had big problems with Joe Mauer, who is batting .421 with three homers against him, and Denard Span, who's 13 for 26.
Minnesota (14-27), owner of the worst record in the majors, had won a season-best four straight before a 16-4 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday. Jason Marquis didn't make it out of the second inning, allowing eight runs.
"We just didn't get it done," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins' official website. "We need to regroup (Monday)."
Mauer had four hits Sunday and has gone 9 for 21 with four doubles in the last five games. He loves hitting at U.S. Cellular Field, batting .366 there in his career and .474 over the last 14 contests.
P.J. Walters (1-1, 3.65) will oppose Floyd in his third start of the season. The right-hander gave up three homers in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win at Detroit on Thursday.
Walters may have to face Paul Konerko, who sat out the last two games after taking a pitch to the face but could be in the lineup Tuesday. Konerko is hitting .367 - second in the AL - with eight homers.
Minnesota has won 17 of 22 on the road in this series, but will be facing a Chicago team that has scored at least six runs in five of its last seven games.
"If we can keep going on the right track with the guys swinging the bats the way they have the last few days, we should be able to play a little more consistent," right-hander Jake Peavy said.
Updated May 21, 2012