Manager Ozzie Guillen had a good feeling before the White Sox left last week on a 10-game trip.
Whether his good vibes continue may depend on the Sox's four-game AL Central showdown at second-place Minnesota starting Monday night.
The Sox's momentum was stunted Sunday when their four-game winning streak was snapped in a 6-4 loss to the Tigers.
The Sox head to the Metrodome with the same 21/2-game lead over the Twins they possessed when they started their trip Friday.
"Situations like this are what you play this game for," said staff ace Mark Buehrle, who will start Monday night. "It's a big series."
The Sox were content to take two of three from Detroit, and Buehrle would be satisfied with a split at Minnesota. The Sox beat the Tigers twice, sparked by Jermaine Dye's two-run homer with two out in the top of the ninth Friday.
"That's the most excited I've seen the dugout since the  World Series," Buehrle said. "Even I got caught up in the middle of it. They're big games, but if you lose them, you still have a chance to battle back, and we've got some games left."
The Sox hope to maximize the production of Dye, who hit his third homer in as many games Sunday but settled for a solo shot. Dye is batting .487 with 12 RBIs in his last 10 games.
"Jermaine is as hot as doughnut grease right now," Nick Swisher said. "He's doing his thing, and we're just trying to get as many guys on for him as we can. Overall, this was a good series for us. We've got a long way to go."
Buehrle is one of three lefties who will start against the Twins. Pitching coach Don Cooper said this alignment wasn't by design, but the Sox need to neutralize left-handed-hitting All-Stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Without an upgrade by trade, the Sox will need a contribution from left-handed reliever Boone Logan, who has allowed eight hits in his last 17 at-bats against left-handed hitters.
"I'm still counting on him," Guillen said. "We are missing a couple of guys in the bullpen, and [Saturday] we had to use [ Octavio] Dotel too much. Everybody out there has to take care of themselves to take care of their teammates."
Guillen also reiterated his faith in first baseman Paul Konerko, who went 1-for-4 but grounded out with the tying runs on base to end the eighth. Konerko is batting .216 and has only three extra-base hits since coming off the disabled list July 8.
Guillen, however, said he might drop Konerko from the sixth spot in an effort to help him relax. Konerko moved out of the cleanup spot May 14 but has raised his average only three points since then.
"I have choices," Guillen said. "I'm not going to give up on him that easily. … It's not easy when you're managing to give up on your players that easily.
"I think Paulie is a big part of this team."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun