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U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 28,060
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By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- The Chicago White Sox have a lot of ground to make up if they're going to reach the postseason, but Jose Abreu and Chris Sale are giving them hope.
The Minnesota Twins are quite familiar with what those two can do.
Abreu looks to extend the longest hitting streak by a White Sox rookie in 64 years, while Sale seeks another dominant performance against the Twins on Friday night.
Chicago (53-56) is fourth in the AL Central, seven games back of first-place Detroit after taking two of three from the Tigers following Thursday's 7-4 victory.
Abreu and Sale (10-1, 1.88 ERA) are leading the charge to continue closing that gap, helping the White Sox win five of their last seven games.
Abreu is a favorite for AL Rookie of the Year, leading the majors with 31 homers, 83 RBIs and a .636 slugging percentage to go with an AL-best .992 OPS.
The 27-year-old first baseman is the second first-year player with at least 30 homers and a 20-game hitting streak, joining Nomar Garciaparra (1997).
Abreu, 3 for 3 with two doubles Thursday, is batting .407 with four homers and 14 RBIs during the club's longest streak by a rookie since Chico Carrasquel went 24 games in 1950.
Sale owns the AL's lowest ERA and is 5-0 with a 1.78 mark and 54 strikeouts in 50 2-3 innings over seven starts.
The left-hander was superb at Minnesota on Saturday, striking out 12 while allowing five hits in eight innings of a 7-0 victory. It was the 15th time Sale struck out at least 10, tying Juan Pizzarro for second on the franchise's all-time list, two back of Ed Walsh.
"That's cool stuff to talk about in the offseason and stuff, and for your family and friends to talk about," Sale told MLB's official website. "For me personally, I just try to stay focused on what we have at hand. For me, I have a team here that needs me to help them win, and that's my job."
Sale is 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in seven career starts against the Twins (48-59), winning both at home behind a 1.88 ERA.
Abreu has also done damage against Minnesota, batting .348 with 14 RBIs in 11 games. Seven of his 16 hits versus the Twins have gone for extra bases.
The Twins occupy the division cellar and are batting .165 with runners in scoring position during a 4-9 stretch after going 2 for 12 in that scenario while falling 6-3 at Kansas City on Thursday.
"We're leaving way too many runners on early in the game," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're not coming up with a big hit and coming up with those extra runs that you need. They show up late."
Kurt Suzuki is 3 for 15 in six games after batting .365 over the previous 18. The catcher had a pinch-hit RBI double against the Royals, hours after inking a two-year, $12 million extension.
He'll likely be back behind the plate with Logan Darnell (0-1, 7.88) opposing Sale again in the opener of this three-game set. The rookie left-hander was hammered in his first career start Saturday, surrendering seven runs and 11 hits in five innings. However, he held Abreu hitless in two at-bats while allowing Alexei Ramirez to go 2 for 3 with a two-run homer.
Ramirez has a .390 average with three homers and 11 RBIs over his last 10 home meetings with Minnesota.
Updated August 1, 2014