8/16/2013 11:43 P.M. ET
Close games continue to fall on wrong side of ledger
By Kelly Erickson / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Thursday night's 4-3 walk off Minnesota win marked Chicago's 27th loss by a one-run margin.
The White Sox are 18-27 heading into Friday's game in one-run games and 10-15 in two-run decisions. Ten of their last 14 games were decided by one or two runs -- nine by one run, one by two runs -- and they went 4-6 in that stretch.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura noted that while it's frustrating to think a bit of extra, timely offense could make all the difference in those games, it's hard to look back over the whole season as there are is a different group of guys in the clubhouse.
"They are close and you're in them," Ventura said. "A hit here or there could change those guys. How many of them? You don't know. … We're in a transition. We're a little bit different than we were earlier in the year, so it's something you just continue to make progress and kind of push forward and not look back at that as though these are the same guys performing.
Viciedo returns to starting lineup against Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Dayan Viciedo made his first start in eight games Friday night at Target Field.
The White Sox outfielder had missed six straight starts and eight of the club's previous nine games because of a sore left thumb.
"It's just one of those, he's feeling better," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We'll run him out there and get him back in the fold."
Viciedo noted earlier that, at the plate, he's always felt fine and had no issues gripping the bat, but fielding was another matter. He wasn't able to close his glove completely, according to Ventura.
"It was more of just being able to put his hand in the glove and for whatever reason it just didn't feel like he could close his glove," Ventura said. "Hitting-wise, he wasn't complaining about it at all."
Now that he's back in the lineup, he admitted that he was a little nervous about stepping into the batter's box, simply because he hasn't consistently hit since his last start.
"You're always going to have apprehensive feeling, but I know I have to get past that and get the job done," Viciedo said through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz.
Viciedo did pinch-hit on Wednesday at Detroit and was hitless in his one at-bat. At the time, as far as his thumb was concerned, he said he felt fine and again "felt a little bit off just because I haven't seen live pitching" in a while.
Viciedo singled home two runs in the second inning and finished Friday's 5-2 win 2-for-4 with a double.
Beckham gets breather; Keppinger starts at second
MINNEAPOLIS -- After leaving Thursday night's series opener in the middle of the fourth inning White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckhamearned a partial day of rest Friday.
Running through first on his second at-bat in the third, Beckham said he aggravated a strain in his right quadriceps a little more than usual. Beckham insisted that it's a strain he's been playing with for quite some time and that he simply felt it a little more, causing the staff to pull him as a precautionary measure.
Before Friday's game, manager Robin Ventura said Beckham would likely miss just one game.
"He said he feels a little bit better," Ventura said. "It's just one of those you don't want to chance it today by coming back. We're just going to get treated today. Unless something crazy happens, he probably won't be in."
But when Conor Gillaspie exited with a bruised left hand in the eighth inning, Beckham entered at second and Jeff Keppinger moved over to third.
Ventura said Gillaspie sustained a simple bruise on the relay to third on Wilkin Ramirez's triple in the seventh.
Keppinger, who subbed in for Beckham on Thursday, started on Friday.
Keppinger went 0-for-2 Thursday with a strikeout but is batting .240 with 32 RBIs. Although his numbers are down this year, Ventura said it was large in part the result of a rough start.
"It's one of those he just started out bad," Ventura said. "Lately, he's swung pretty good as far as his approach and doing everything. We had a lot of guys that just started slow. If you could eliminate the first month, it doesn't look quite as bad. I think right now he's about what you thought he was going to be."
Heading into Friday's game, Keppinger was 8-for-28 through August for a .286 average. He hit a solo homer in the third inning off Kevin Correia to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the 5-2 win.
Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.