MINNESOTA 4, CHICAGO 1 IN CHICAGO
Date: Wednesday, September 10.
Batting stars: Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Pitching stars: Johan Santana pitched 6.1 innings, giving up one run on six hits and one walk and striking out six. LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one. Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.
Opposition stars: Jon Garland pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out five. Magglio Ordonez was 1-for-2 with a walk.
The game: The White Sox had two on with two out in the first and did not score. That was really the only significant threat until the fifth, when the Twins broke the scoreless tie. Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie singled and A. J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. The Twins didn't get a big inning out of it, but sacrifice flies by Cristian Guzman and Stewart put them up 2-0.
In the sixth singles by Tony Graffanino and Frank Thomas were followed by an Ordonez sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 2-1. The Twins got the run back in the seventh when Koskie walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Stewart's single.
Chicago put men on second and third with one out in the seventh but did not score. The Twins got an insurance run in the eighth when Doug Mientkiewicz walked and scored from first on LeCroy's double. The White Sox did not get a hit after that and the Twins won 4-1.
WP: Santana (10-3). LP: Jon Garland (11-11). S: Guardado (34).
Notes: Luis Rivas was back at second base. Stewart was in left and Jacque Jones in right. Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for LeCroy in the eighth.
Stewart raised his average to .313. Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .305. Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .303. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.
Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.92. Guardado got under three at 2.95.
Having lost the first two of the four game series, the Twins needed this win. They also needed Santana to come up big yet again, and he certainly did. The bullpen, which had been solid all season, was solid again, too.
The win stopped the Twins' two-game losing streak. They would have a chance to split the series and move back into a tie for first the next day. Kansas City won, as they tried to stay in the race.
Record: The Twins were 77-68, in second place in the American League Central, one game behind Chicago. They were 2.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.