Youkilis set for ChiSox debut in Minnesota opener
(Sports Network) - The Chicago White Sox should have Kevin Youkilis starting at third base this evening when they open a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Youkilis was acquired from Boston on Sunday for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and righty Zach Stewart. He's expected to take over at third base, where the White Sox were hitting a major-league worst .168 average with one homer and 18 RBI.
The 33-year-old Youkilis, though, is only hitting .233 with four homers and 14 RBI.
"I just got off the phone with him, he's very excited to join our club and he's got a little edge to him that I like," White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said. "I can't tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong."
The White Sox took over the top spot in the AL Central by a half game on Sunday, when their 1-0 defeat of the Milwaukee Brewers - coupled with Cleveland's 7-1 loss in Houston - signaled a change atop the division.
Chicago has won two straight games while the Indians have lost two in a row.
Minnesota, meanwhile, is last in the five-team division, 8 1/2 games back.
For the White Sox, 31-year-old lefty Jake Peavy tries to end a four-start skid since his last victory.
He was 6-1 after a 14-7 defeat of the Indians on May 26 in Chicago, but has subsequently gone 0-2 in June with a pair of no-decisions while allowing 17 hits and eight runs in 28 1/3 innings.
Peavy's 2-2 in six career starts against the Twins with a 3.72 earned run average in 36 1/3 innings.
In his last start, on June 19 against the Chicago Cubs, Peavy went the nine- inning distance while allowing a single earned run on five hits.
For Minnesota, lefty Francisco Liriano also looks to snap a four-start drought since the end of May.
Liriano picked up his initial victory of the season with six scoreless innings against Oakland on May 30, but has since dropped two decisions in four starts against Kansas City, the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.
In the stretch, the 28-year-old Dominican has allowed 13 hits and nine runs in 24 1/3 innings while paring his ERA from 7.20 to 5.74.
He pitched an inning of scoreless relief against the White Sox on May 23 in Chicago, striking out two batters in the Twins' 6-0 loss.
In 13 career meetings with the White Sox, he's 4-3 with a 4.60 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. This though is his first start against them since no-hitting them last season.
On Sunday in Chicago, Eduardo Escobar broke a scoreless tie with a game- winning pinch-hit single to center, lifting the White Sox over the Brewers in the finale of a three-game series.
Alejandro De Aza ripped a leadoff double into the left-field corner off of Manny Parra (0-2) to start the 10th. Adam Dunn worked a walk two batters later before Escobar smacked a pinch-hit single to center, scoring De Aza from second to give the White Sox the series victory.
Brian Bruney (1-0) got the win after retiring the Brewers in the 10th. Jose Quintana fired eight scoreless innings in the start for Chicago, but did not factor in the decision.
In Cincinnati, Josh Willingham crushed a go-ahead, two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Twins to a 4-3 triumph over the Reds in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday at Great American Ball Park.
Joey Votto gave the Reds a 3-2 lead with a two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, but Aroldis Chapman (4-4) was unable to hold the Twins down in the ninth. Joe Mauer ripped a one-out double to set the table for Willingham, who belted a fastball deep into the left-field seats to give the Twins a one-run lead.
Jared Burton, who pitched for the Reds from 2007-11, retired Cincinnati in the ninth to record the first save of his career.
Scott Diamond (6-3) got the win in the longest outing of his career after tossing eight innings and giving up three runs on eight hits with a career- high seven strikeouts.
The teams split 18 games last season and the White Sox have not won a season series with the Twins since 2005. So far in 2012, Chicago took the final two games of a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field in May.
06/25 11:01:27 ET