Chicago outlasted Milwaukee 1-0 in 10 innings on Sunday, moved a half-game ahead of Cleveland in the American League Central --- and acquired Kevin Youkilis and cash from the Red Sox for infielder Brent Lillibridge and pitcher Zach Stewart. Youkilis was written in Chicago's starting lineup prior to the game, playing third base and batting second.
The White Sox will start Jake Peavy, but the focus figures to be on Youkilis. The 33-year-old easily should improve upon the .168 batting average and one home run posted by Chicago's third basemen this season. Of late, the White Sox had used converted second baseman Orlando Hudson at the position, but he is hitting only .170.
Youkilis went 2-for-4 with a triple for the Red Sox on Sunday, raising his average to .233 and his OPS to .692. Despite those lower-than-typical stats, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams expects Youkilis to contribute.
"I can't tell you exactly what he said," Williams said, "but he wants to come in and he wants to prove some people wrong."
The White Sox, who are 19-13 away from U.S. Cellular Field, are starting a seven-game road trip. They will take on the last-place Twins, who have won four of their past seven games.
"We've been scuffling a little bit. We got off to a rough start and we're just talking about winning series," catcher Joe Mauer said after Sunday's 4-3 comeback win over the Reds. "To get a series win here, hopefully we can carry that home."
Minnesota will turn to Liriano (1-7, 5.74), who will make his first start against the White Sox since he threw a no-hitter at U.S. Cellular last May 3.
The lefty posted a 9.45 ERA in his first six starts of the season, but since returning from the bullpen on May 30, he owns a 2.67 mark. He didn't earn a decision on Wednesday at Pittsburgh, but held the Pirates to one run in 6 2/3 innings.
"It's better location and I'm getting more swings and misses and more ground balls," Liriano said afterward. "It's all about location. I'm getting more consistent and throwing the ball over the plate without trying to strike everybody out."
White Sox: Peavy feeling fine
After logging between 16 and 19 starts in each of the past three years due to injury, Peavy (6-3, 2.74) is ready to make his 15th of 2012. He insists he feels no ill effects after throwing 125 pitches against the Cubs on Tuesday, when he recorded his third complete game of the season.
"I'm excited to pitch tomorrow," he said. "I feel fine. Health is not an issue. It hasn't been this year, knock on wood. I feel blessed and I've got three more for before the All-Star break, then [I'll] regroup and try to do it for 2 1/2 more months."
Peavy's 1.91 ERA in June certainly doesn't suggest a pitcher who is wearing down, and the 31-year-old is confident his body can continue to withstand the innings.
"I believe I can handle that workload," Peavy said. "I know I have been through a lot here in my time in Chicago. But at the same time I feel like health is a non-issue. I know it's an issue for anyone who plays the game. But I believe I'm just as normal as Gavin Floyd or whoever it may be. I feel as healthy as they are and I look forward to doing all I can to stay that way. You don't ever know. The body is a fragile thing, but I certainly feel as good as I have in years."
Peavy is only 1-2 in his complete games, becoming the first White Sox pitcher to lose a pair of them in the same season since Mark Buehrle in 2007.
Twins: The replacement closers
Should the Twins enter Monday's ninth inning with a lead, they won't be able to turn to Matt Capps for the save.
Capps has 14 saves this season, but is expected to be placed on the disabled list on Monday. Before Saturday, he hadn't pitched in a week due to right shoulder inflammation.
Glen Perkins earned his second save of the season on Friday, while Jared Burton picked up his first on Sunday, suggesting a closer-by-committee approach while Capps is out.
"We'll probably do what we've been doing. It's worked out OK," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think you should wait until that bullpen door opens. We're not going to sit here and say, 'This guy is going to close.' We're not ready to do that. And, before we do that, I would tell them first."
Left fielder Josh Willingham blasted a go-ahead two-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning of Sunday's win over the Reds. His 15th homer of the season lifted his slugging percentage to .551, 55 points higher than his career best.
Peavy made four of his six career starts against the Twins last season. He won both of his outings at Target Field, throwing 14 1/3 scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts.
Youkilis is 4-for-14 with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs in his career against Liriano.