It's often been by the narrowest of margins, but the Twins have a pretty good handle on their series with the division rival White Sox this season.
Entering Sunday's series finale -- the White Sox took two of the first three of the four-game set -- Minnesota has won 10 of the 15 meetings this year. And 12 of those 15 games have been decided by three runs or fewer. The Twins are 8-4 in 12 those ballgames.
Sunday afternoon's contest will pit White Sox lefty Hector Santiago and Twins righty Samuel Deduno.
Santiago squared off against the first-place Tigers in his last start, yielding 10 baserunners over five-plus innings but giving up just two runs (one earned).
He did it all while battling the pain from a morning root canal, which left the right side of his face swollen all day.
"My mindset was like I was going to go no matter what," Santiago said. "The only way I wasn't going to go is if I wasn't able to walk. I said I was going to pitch no matter what, if my body was aching or whatever it was. I definitely didn't want to miss it."
Still, he's winless since June 21. The southpaw has seven no-decisions in that span with two losses. In eight starts since June 28, Santiago has given up more than three runs just once (Aug. 8 against the Yankees, when he gave up four).
The White Sox, overall, have won eight of their last 13 and will make a stop in Kansas City against the surging Royals before heading home.
Chicago went 14-4 against Minnesota in 2012, but is 2-8-2 in the last 12 season matchups against its division rivals.
White Sox: Ever-changing team
The White Sox have dealt a number of key contributors over the course of this season, so manager Robin Ventura has put an emphasis on the fact that anything that happened earlier this season was with a different group.
"I think at this point, we're in the position that we're in," Ventura said. "There's no need to sit there and keep bashing on the group that was basically here before. It always changes every time you start trading out people. We did get rid of good people, but we're getting different guys in here and it becomes a different feel even walking through the clubhouse of what's in there and who's on the field."
"Everything sort of changes with the feel of what's going out there."
Reliever Jesse Crain, starter Jake Peavy and outfielder Alex Rios have all been traded away this season. And despite the White Sox being in last place in the American League Central, Ventura has still placed a strong emphasis on not giving up, and on looking for wins as preparation for next season.
"To me that's always important," Ventura said. "I think even going into next year you have to do that. You're a professional and you need to make sure you're going out there and trying to win games. It goes on people's records, as far as players."
Twins: Mauer crushing Chicago
• Twins slugger Joe Mauer has had plenty of success against Chicago in his career, batting .327 in 135 games. This year, he's batting .386 (22-for-57) in 14 games.
Mauer has hit three homers in his last seven games overall.
• Deduno has given up four runs in each of his last two starts, though he scattered five hits over six innings in his last outing after surrendering 12 hits in 5 2/3 in the one before that. He took the loss on Tuesday against the Indians.
"I lost a little bit of control and they attacked pretty good, too," Deduno said after his last outing. "I tried to make my pitches, but they kept going the wrong way."
• The Twins are 15-14 since the All-Star break.
• The White Sox are no stranger to close games. Fourteen of their last 16 have been decided by three runs or fewer. They're 6-8 in those contests.