MINNESOTA 5, CHICAGO 2 IN CHICAGO
Date: Thursday, September 11.
Batting stars: A. J. Pierzynski was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs. Torii Hunter was 2-for-4.
Pitching star: Brad Radke pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on nine hits and no walks and striking out five. He threw 126 pitches, the most he would throw in a game all season.
Opposition stars: Jose Valentin was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-fourth) and a stolen base (his sixth). Frank Thomas was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fortieth.
The game: Thomas homered in the first inning to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. The Twins came back with a big third. Jacque Jones and Pierzynski singled and Cristian Guzman was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with none out. Shannon Stewart then hit a three-run double-plus-error and Denny Hocking followed with a sacrifice fly, giving the Twins a 4-1 lead.
Chicago opened the fifth with two singles but did not score. The Twins added a run in the sixth when Pierzynski doubled and scored on a Hocking single. The White Sox added a run in the ninth on Valentin's homer, but did not threaten to get back into the game.
WP: Radke (12-10). LP: Esteban Loiaza (19-7). S: None.
Notes: Hocking was at second base in place of Luis Rivas. Stewart was in left and Jones in right. The Twins made no in-game substitutions.
Stewart was 1-for-5 and was batting .312. PIerzynski was batting .306. Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .305. Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .302.
Radke had not walked a man in his last two starts (16 innings). He walked just four in six August starts (38.1 innings). For the season he walked just 28 in 33 starts (212.1 innings). That may not be Carlos Silva, but it's pretty good.
Loaiza pitched seven innings for Chicago, giving up five runs on seven hits and one walk and striking out nine. He pitched very well other than in the third inning, but of course the third inning counts just as much as the other eight.
The win was the Twins' second in a row. It gave them a split in the series and moved them back into a tie for first. The two teams would meet again for three games the next week, bur first the Twins had four games in Cleveland while the White Sox would go to Boston for three. The Royals lost to Cleveland and were starting to fall out of the race.
Record: The Twins were 78-68, tied for first with Chicago in the American League Central. They were 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.