The White Sox left the Metrodome with a split after a 7-4 victory over Minnesota on Thursday, ending a 13-game trip without killing their chances in the American League's Central Division.
Now comes the rematch series against the Cubs in Comiskey Park, where the intensity will get higher.
"With the Cubs, we could beat them 10 times in a row, or they could beat us 10 times in a row," Paul Konerko said. "When the next meeting comes, we're going to start from scratch.
"If we sweep them, that's great, because that gives us the season series. You can't get too high and be all jacked up because then you're going to do stupid things."
Konerko had four hits in five at-bats, including his 18th home run of the season, as the Sox knocked out 16 hits and finished the trip at 5-8. But they lost only two games in the standings to the Twins and once again have to count their blessings.
"We went a long stretch without scoring a bunch of runs or getting a bunch of hits," Royce Clayton said. "Offensively, we're starting to come out of the funk we've been in for quite some time. Taking two of four is somewhat positive. We were in a couple games we felt we could have won, but didn't hang our heads about it. The vibe we sent to Minnesota is we're going to keep battling. If we came in here with our heads down and let them kick our teeth in, they'd have a lot of confidence now."
Gary Glover (3-3) pitched 51/3 innings for the victory, and Ray Durham's three-run homer off Rick Reed (6-4) in the second inning put the Sox in control.
After Bob Howry drilled Torii Hunter in the ribs Wednesday night, the players were wondering Thursday who would get plunked. Reed didn't hang around long enough to make the guessing game any fun.
The Sox strung together four straight singles off Reed in the first, but scored only one run. Frank Thomas tried to score from second on Konerko's single, but was thrown out by left fielder Jacque Jones. Thomas declined to slide or barrel over catcher A.J. Pierzynski. But Durham's three-run shot in the second, his first home run since May 25, gave Glover a comfort zone.
The first rumblings of a potential beanball war were heard in the sixth, when Juan Rincon threw a fastball in the direction of Thomas' head with no one on base. Thomas glared at Rincon while plate umpire Joe West issued warnings to both teams. Thomas had said before the game he expected the Twins to throw at him.
"It's part of the game, but just don't throw at my head," he said afterward. "I don't respect that part. I knew after the last couple of days [a purpose pitch] was warranted."
Crew chief Jerry Crawford issued warnings to both teams before the game.
"That's like that new Tom Cruise movie ("Minority Report") where they arrest people before they commit crimes," Konerko said. "I didn't think anything would happen. Torii Hunter is a big part of their team.
"The fact of the matter is, I don't know whether Bobby [hit Hunter] on purpose or not. But if I'm the Twins and a guy hits Torii Hunter, even if the guy didn't mean to do it, I'd probably hit somebody.
"If they lose Torii Hunter, their season is over. So if they hit somebody on our team, you just wear it and go to first base. If someone hits Magglio, I don't care if he meant to do it or not, he's a guy you cannot losethe best player on our team. So you hit somebody. A lot of times, that's how the game is played."
The Twins knocked Glover out in the sixth on Hunter's RBI single, pulling to 5-3. But Konerko's homer in the seventh, his career-high 10th in June, put the Sox back in control.
Manager Jerry Manuel didn't know where closer Antonio Osuna was, after saying Wednesday that Osuna would be back from Mexico, where he went to see his pregnant wife. Keith Foulke pitched the ninth and posted his first save since his demotion, tying Hoyt Wilhelm for third in Sox history with 98 saves. Manuel said Foulke would be the closer in the Cubs series.
"I'm feeling better about myself," Foulke said. "And it's showing in my pitching."
It doesn't get any easier for the Sox, facing a Cubs team with apparently little to lose this weekend against its cross-town rival.
"It doesn't matter who we face, be it the Cubs, Seattle or whoever," Durham said. "We have to get this ballclub back on track, and we definitely made strides here."Copyright © 2015, CT Now