What happens when a prolific offense meets a newbie pitcher?
That's precisely what those in attendance at Target Field on Thursday night are going to discover, when the Chicago White Sox visit the Minnesota Twins for the first of a four-game weekend series.
The White Sox enter after having scored 15 runs in two interleague games against the San Francisco Giants in Chicago, a short set in which they were 8- for-17 with runners in scoring position after entering with just three such hits in their previous 32 attempts.
Jose Abreu hit his 20th home run in his 58th game on Wednesday to become the third-fastest first-year player to reach that milestone, trailing only Wally Berger (51 games) and Mark McGwire (56 games). McGwire has the rookie record with 49 home runs in 1987.
"We're happy with what (Abreu is) doing," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's getting some hits and important RBIs against some great pitchers, so that's a good sign."
He'll take his next swings against fellow Cuban export Yohan Pino, who was called up from Triple-A Rochester to take the starting slot created when Samuel Deduno was demoted to the bullpen. Deduno had a 10.13 earned run average in his last four starts.
Pino, in 14 games with Rochester this season, is 9-1 with a 1.92 ERA.
The White Sox are 3-2 in eight games against rookie starters this season.
Chicago starts lefty Jose Quintana, who's lost three consecutive outings for the first time in his career while allowing 15 runs in 16 1/3 innings.
He's pitched well against Minnesota, though, winning two decisions in his last three starts.
He got a no-decision against the Twins in April 3 after surrendering two earned runs in six innings of a game Minnesota ultimately won, 10-9.
On Wednesday in Chicago, the White Sox used home runs from Abreu and Adam Dunn to power past the Giants, 7-6.
Dunn crushed a three-run blast and Abreu smashed a two-run shot, while each scored a pair of runs. Tyler Flowers drove in two and Alejandro De Aza was a homer shy of the cycle for the White Sox.
Chris Sale (6-1), who wasn't as sharp as normal, allowed three runs on a season-high eight hits while fanning seven in six-plus frames to pick up a win for the first time in his last three outings.
"Anytime you have a team like that coming in and you can take two games from them it's huge," Sale said.
In Boston, David Ortiz roped a slider around Pesky's Pole and Mike Napoli drove a fastball over the wall in dead center field in the 10th inning, and just like that the Red Sox had an unlikely walk-off win to cap a 2-1 win and an unlikely three-game sweep of the Twins.
The blasts were just the second and third hits for the Red Sox all game.
They scored only five runs in their three-game sweep of the AL Central basement dwellers.
No one for either team touched third base until Chris Parmelee hit a solo homer for the Twins in the top of the 10th inning for a 1-0 lead. Before that, right-handed starters John Lackey and Kyle Gibson had help shut down the offenses while they were on the mound.
Gibson retired the first 14 Red Sox batters he faced and gave up just one hit while striking out eight in seven innings. He ran his personal shutout streak to 22 innings.
Parmelee had three of Minnesota's four hits as the Twins finished up a nine- game road trip 3-6. Parmelee drove a 1-2 pitch from Koji Uehara (2-1) into the Red Sox bullpen behind right field with two outs.
Casey Fien (3-4) served up the Boston home runs.
"It's the worst feeling in the world," Fien said. "They asked me to come up big and I came up with a (loss)."