MINNESOTA 4, CHICAGO 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Wednesday, September 17.
Batting stars: Luis Rivas was 2-for-3 with a stolen base (his seventeenth), a walk, and two runs. Michael Ryan was 1-for-3 with a home run, his fourth.
Pitching stars: Kenny Rogers pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and no walks and striking out three. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning and struck out one. Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.
Opposition stars: Carl Everett was 2-for-4. Joe Crede was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his seventeenth. Scott Sullivan struck out two in two shutout innings of relief.
The game: The White Sox got a pair of one-out singles in the second, but there was no score until the third. With one out, Ryan homered to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. Cristian Guzman then walked and went to second on a wild pitch. With two out, Rivas hit an RBI single and Doug Mientkiewicz followed with a run-scoring double to make it 3-0 Minnesota.
The Twins had men on first and third with one out in the fourth, but a line drive double-play took them out of the inning. With two out in the fifth, however, Rivas singled, stole second, and scored on a Jacque Jones single to make it 4-0 Twins.
Chicago got on the board in the seventh when Everett singled and Crede hit a two-run homer. Magglio Ordonez opened the ninth with a walk, bringing the tying run up to bat, but Everett hit into a double play and Paul Konerko flied out to end the game.
WP: Rogers (12-8). LP: Jon Garland (11-12). S: Guardado (37).
Notes: Shannon Stewart was in left, with Ryan in right and Jones at DH. Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Jones in the eighth. Dustan Mohr replaced Ryan in right in the ninth.
Ryan was batting .385. Stewart was 0-for-4 and was batting .308. A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .305. Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .304. Jones was 1-for-3 and was also batting .304.
This was Rogers' best game in a month, and it obviously came at a very good time for the Twins. Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.92. Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.80.
The Twins had won the first two of the three-game series, and had won five in a row. They would be in first place at the end of the series, regardless of how the last game came out. But if they could get a sweep, they would have a big advantage going into the last week and a half of the season. The Royals lost, and were nearly out of the race.
Record: The Twins were 83-69, in first place, 2.5 games ahead of Chicago. They were 4.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.