Well aware that his team won't be playing in October, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is at least thankful for the opportunity to check out some of his young prospects in September.
On Sunday the Chicago White Sox completed a sweep of their three-game series with the Twins, as Jake Peavy baffled Minnesota again, Dayan Viciedo and Adam Dunn homered in a 9-2 win.
Gardenhire took some solace in getting a closer look at prospects like catcher Chris Herrmann, who made his major league debut, and shortstop Pedro Florimon, who got a hit in three trips to the plate.
"It was nice getting Herrmann in a game today behind the plate," Gardenhire said. "You've got to see these things. I've got to know what they can do and whether they can handle this situation."
One situation they couldn't handle was a sixth inning, when the White Sox scored six runs to blow open a one-run game, and stay ahead of Detroit in the AL Central. Scott Diamond (11-8) took the brunt of the inning, and the loss.
"Scotty was hanging in there, then one bad pitch to Viciedo," Gardenhire said. "We've got the infield in and you've got to keep the ball down. He got a fastball out and over the plate. He crushed that one, kind of knocked (Diamond) out, and it kind of got ugly after that. We couldn't do anything."
Joe Mauer homered in his return after missing five games with back spasms, but the Twins lost to Chicago for the 13th time in 16 games.
After Alexi Casilla's double in the fifth made it 3-2, Dunn and Viciedo went deep off Scott Diamond (11-8) in the sixth to squash the Twins' comeback attempt.
Dunn opened the inning with a towering solo shot that traveled 415 feet before finally falling into the first row of the upper deck in right field and bouncing back on the field.
Viciedo drove his 21st home run -- and Chicago's 192nd as a team -- into the upper deck in left after Alex Rios tripled.
"I think the big thing today was just sticking to one plan a little too much and they made the adjustment before I did," Diamond said. "I think that was the cause of the sixth inning."
Chicago batted around and added three more unearned runs in the sixth, capped by Dunn's RBI single. Peavy allowed two runs and struck out six in six innings. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA against the Twins since the All-Star break and 0-6 in eight starts against everyone else over that time.
"We came here knowing we had to play well and we did," Peavy said. "Minnesota is not having their best year, but they're still a scrappy team. Having eight lefties in there, of course Mauer's going to get healthy and jump in there against me."
After Mauer homered in the first, Peavy retired the next eight Twins hitters before Mauer doubled in the fourth. Justin Morneau walked, but Peavy struck out Ryan Doumit and Chris Parmelee to end the threat and keep Chicago in front.
Diamond has just one win in his last seven starts after getting off to a hot start. After allowing a career-worst 10 hits in his last outing, Diamond surrendered six runs on seven hits in 5 1-3 innings on Sunday.
"I'm still trying to go as deep into games as I can, but as of right now I still haven't been able to get to that seventh inning, which is my goal," he said. "But I'm going to keep battling."
NOTES: Jose Quintana (6-4, 3.52) will start for the White Sox against the Tigers on Monday. The rookie beat Detroit on Sept. 10, allowing one run and striking out seven in seven innings. Quintana had allowed 12 runs in his previous two starts and will be pitching on an extra two days of rest. "It actually does feel good about this time of season to get a couple extra days," he said. "It gives your arm a little extra strength so I'll feel good for tomorrow." ... Twins slugger Josh Willingham was given the day off and Ben Revere played left field. ... Youkilis's double to center in the third just missed clearing the wall. Youkilis needs one more home run to become the sixth White Sox player with at least 20 this season. ... Out since Wednesday with an oblique strain, Doumit caught for the Twins and went 0 for 3.