The White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Cleveland on Monday and remain one game ahead of the Tigers in the American League Central after Detroit also came out victorious.
Chicago was on the verge of losing a season-high sixth straight and losing sole possession of first place in the Central until an eighth-inning three-run homer by Adam Dunn changed its fortunes and put the club back in the win column.
Tuesday's matinee will be the first of five remaining games the White Sox and Indians play against each other this season -- the two will close out the season with a three-game set at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Chicago also has four games with the Rays while Detroit finishes its season with nine games against the Royals and Twins.
Fully aware they can play a huge part in who wins the Central based on their remaining games against Chicago, the Indians plan to battle hard with their best players in the lineup down the final stretch of the season.
"That's what we're doing," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We'll try to put the best team on the field. You've got to respect the game."
The Indians are trying to avoid their first last-place finish since 1991, and first since joining the Central division in 1994.
Dunn said now is not the time to be taking any team lightly and that teams like the Indians, who are out of the postseason picture, can be especially difficult this time of the year.
"September is tough because, again, when you are facing teams that aren't in it, they are going home and they know they are going home," Dunn said. "They are playing teams that they have a chance to eliminate.
"That's their playoffs and also you are going to face pitchers late in the game when it matters that you haven't faced."
Chicago will be counting on a big outing from Francisco Liriano, who has been inconsistent over 10 starts, and 11 apperances, with the White Sox. Liriano is 3-1 but has a 5.09 ERA over 53 innings of work and has just one victory over his last five starts.
Cleveland will counter with Corey Kluber, who has one win in 10 starts this season to accompany a 5.36 ERA.
White Sox: Offense helps snaps skid
Monday's win snapped a season-high tying five-game losing streak, which was largely the product of a disappearing offense.
The White Sox had scored just eight runs over the skid and scored more than three runs once, averaging 1.66 runs per game.
Monday's win extended Chicago's winning streak against the Indians to six games -- the first time the club has won six consecutive vs. Cleveland since 2003.
Dunn blasted his 40th and 41st homers of the season in Monday's win, the sixth time in his career he has reached the plateau and first since 2008.
The slugger has rebounded after a disappointing 2011, when he hit 11 homers and had 42 RBIs to accompany a .159 average and .569 OPS, all of which were career lows. In addition to the 41 home runs, Dunn has 94 RBIs and a .828 OPS.
Indians: Acta looking for more from Carrera
Acta is hoping outfielder Ezequiel Carrera makes some adjustments at the plate and finishes the season strong in what has been a difficult year since being promoted to the club in August.
"He still needs to continue in his control of the strike zone," Acta said prior to Monday's game. "His walk-to-strikeout ratio's not good. It's not just necessarily about walking. It's about controlling the strike zone so you can handle better pitches and get a higher on-base percentage.
"His game depends so much on being on base because of his velocity. He's made some improvement over last year, but he still needs to show more."
Carrera, who has walked six times compared to 33 strikeouts, went 2-for-4 Monday batting out of the nine-hole. In 43 games, he is batting .248 with a .285 on-base percentage.
After going 2-for-5 in Monday's loss, Shin-Soo Choo has multi-hit games in three consecutive contests and has hit safely in five straight.
Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .545 against Liriano in 22 career at-bats with a 1.283 OPS.
Kluber has only faced five different White Sox in his career and has not allowed a hit to any of them.