Brian Dozier is giving the Minnesota Twins a spark against the Chicago White Sox, and doing it again could move them out of the AL Central basement.
A day after he was integral to a third straight victory against Chicago, Dozier will try to help the Twins match their longest winning streak of the season Saturday.
Minnesota (34-38) has rebounded from a season-high five-game skid with wins in the first two of this four-game set. Dozier has collected three hits, none more significant than his walkoff single in Friday's 5-4 win.
'He's into the game pretty good,' manager Ron Gardenhire said. 'He's a fun player to watch play baseball.'
The second baseman also started a superb double play with the bases loaded that ended the top of the ninth after Chicago scored twice.
"The walkoff hit, it is what it is, but that's probably one of the best feelings I've had in a while, to be honest with you," Dozier said of his defensive gem.
He may feel even better if the Twins can pull ahead of Chicago in the standings. They're percentage points behind the White Sox for last in the Central.
Dozier is 8 for 22 (.364) with three doubles over his last five home meetings with the White Sox.
Minnesota will start Kevin Correia (3-8, 5.29 ERA), hoping he can carry his recent success on the road back home. The right-hander is 1-5 with a 7.34 ERA in seven starts at Target Field, losing the last three behind a 7.88 ERA.
However, he's been absolutely dominant over his past three away games, allowing two runs in 18 innings.
Correia was outstanding on the road again Monday, yielding one run in six innings while the offense mustered three hits in a 1-0 loss to Boston.
"My stuff has just gotten better over the last few outings," Correia told the team's official website. "I think it's a product of struggling a little bit because you know you have to go out there and be sharper. I think in the long run it's going to help me going on that bad streak.
"I think I'm throwing the ball better now than at any point last season."
He had a 4.29 ERA while losing two of three home starts versus the White Sox last year, and he allowed three runs in six innings of a 7-6, 11-inning loss at Chicago April 2.
The White Sox (35-39) have dropped nine of 13 games with the rotation getting much of the blame for compiling a 5.40 ERA.
Andre Rienzo (4-4, 5.67) is one of the major culprits, posting a 9.00 ERA while losing four straight starts. He's allowed 13 runs over 9 2-3 innings in his past two outings, surrendering three homers.
"You gotta keep the ball in the yard and give us a chance," manager Robin Ventura told the team's official website. "Right now, we're going to keep going with it. He's just gotta pitch better. That would help, too."
In two career starts against the Twins - both last season - the right-hander has given up six runs in 11 1-3 innings. However, he allowed just one earned run in six innings of a 4-3 defeat in his only appearance at Target Field on Aug. 15.
The Associated Press News Service
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