At 32-36 entering Thursday's series finale against the White Sox, the Twins are very much alive in a competitive American League Central division and manager Ron Gardenhire doesn't expect his team to lay down.
"We have some pretty good players who have been through a lot, especially the last few years with the ones who have been around," Gardenhire said. "There are some times we're overmatched and it's a process with some of our kids, but I expect to be in games if our pitchers give us a chance. But to this point, we haven't for any length of time hit and pitched at the same time."
Thursday's matchup with the White Sox will be the end of a nine-game homestand for the Twins, which means it's as good a time as any for the team to start piecing together a few wins, as well as hitting and pitching at the same time. Minnesota tagged Chicago ace Chris Sale for four runs in Wednesday's 7-4 win, and also held the White Sox offense in check until an eighth-inning rally was nipped in the bud.
"You have to win at home," Gardenhire said. "It's harder to do that on the road, so you have to take care of your home ballpark."
Twins left-hander Scott Diamond will be charged with keeping the team's momentum flowing into the team's upcoming five-game road trip. Diamond will be making his second start against the White Sox, but it will be his first against them at Target Field, where he's 1-5 with a 6.40 ERA this season. He held the South Siders to two runs (one earned) over six innings on April 21.
Diamond will oppose left-hander John Danks, who is 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA since making his first start of the season on May 24. Danks' velocity has been down as a result of the arthroscopic surgery he underwent last season, but he's started to show signs of his old ways. He threw eight innings and allowed one run against Oakland on June 8, but then he surrendered four runs in six innings in his last outing on Saturday.
White Sox: Beckham on fire
Second baseman Gordon Beckham is hitting .327 (17-for-52) in 14 games since returning from the disabled list on June 3. He missed seven weeks earlier in the season with a broken hand, and Beckham said he still feels lingering soreness that he's learning to play with.
"I think he just has a better approach as far as staying through the middle," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "With the way his hand is, the power and everything else will come with it. Knowing that he's not going to injure himself worse, it's more of him being able to tolerate how it's feeling post-surgery and rehab. I think again, he's come into this season with a plan and he's stuck to it. The results are there."
Twins: No. 4 pick signs
The Twins announced they signed their first-round pick in this year's First-Year MLB Draft in right-hander Kohl Stewart on Wednesday. Minnesota selected the St. Pius X High School product with the No. 4 overall pick. He was the top high-school pitching prospect in the nation, as rated by MLB.com.
Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan said Stewart and fourth-rounder Stephen Gonsalves will both head to Fort Myers, Fla., to begin their professional careers in the Gulf Coast League. Both pitchers signed for close to their slot values.
• Twins closer Glen Perkins recorded his 17th save on Tuesday night, marking a career high for the left-hander. He added another for his 18th on Wednesday. He boasts a 2.36 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.
• White Sox setup man Jesse Crain has made 27 consecutive appearances without allowing a run. He's tied with J.J. Putz for the franchise record.
• Before its 7-4 loss on Wednesday, Chicago's last seven losses had been by two runs or fewer.
Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.