CHICAGO 8, MINNESOTA 6 IN CHICAGO (12 INNINGS)
Date: Wednesday, July 2.
Batting stars: Bobby Kielty was 4-for-5 with two doubles, a walk, and a stolen base, his fifth. Torii Hunter was 3-for-6 with a home run (his twelfth) and three RBIs. Justin Morneau was 2-for-6.
Pitching stars: Johan Santana struck out two in two perfect innings. LaTroy Hawkins pitched two perfect innings and struck out one. J. C. Romero pitched a scoreless inning despite giving up two hits and a walk.
Opposition stars: Frank Thomas was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his nineteenth and twentieth), a walk, and four RBIs. Brian Daubach was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his fourth) and a walk. Paul Konerko was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourth. Damaso Marte pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one. Tom Gordon struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.
The game: The Twins scored two in the first when Kielty led off with a walk and Hunter hit a two-out two-run homer. Kielty started another two-run rally in the third with a single. He scored on a double by Doug Mientkiewicz, who in turn scored on Morneau's single to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.
It didn't last long. In the bottom of the third Jose Valentin drew a two-out walk and Thomas homered to make it 4-2. In the fourth Carlos Lee singled and Daubach followed with a two-run homer to tie it 4-4. The White Sox struck again in the fifth. Valentin singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Magglio Ordonez double to give Chicago their first lead at 5-4.
The Twins tied it in the seventh, and again it was Kielty getting things started, this time with a double. Hunter brought him home with a two-out single and it was 5-5. It stayed there through nine, and we had extra innings.
The White Sox loaded the bases with one out in the tenth, but a double play ended the inning. The Twins took a 6-5 lead in the eleventh when Luis Rivas hit a two-out triple and scored on Kielty's single, but Chicago tied it in the bottom of the eleventh on a pinch-hit two-out home run by Konerko. With two out in the twelfth, Thomas hit a walkoff two-run homer.
WP: Billy Koch (5-4). LP: Eddie Guardado (1-3). S: None.
Notes: Denny Hocking was at shortstop in place of Cristian Guzman. Dustan Mohr was again in left field in place of Jacque Jones, with Kielty in right. Morneau was the DH.
Guzman entered the game in the eighth. He went to short, with Hocking moving to first base and Mientkiewicz leaving the game. The only reason I can think of that you'd do that is an injury or illness to Mientkiewicz. He would miss the next day's game, but be back in the lineup after that.
Corey Koskie was 1-for-6 and was batting .305.
Kyle Lohse started and pitched five innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks. He did strike out six. Santana lowered his ERA to 2.43. Hawkins went down to 1.70.
Konerko apparently had some sort of minor injury that he was dealing with. He hadn't played since June 28 and would not play again until July 6. Whatever it was, it apparently didn't affect his swing.
Dan Wright started for Chicago. He pitched four innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out one. This was the third of his four major league seasons. His career record was 20-26, 5.65, 1.53 WHIP. He appeared in 70 games, 64 of them starts. He had been jumped from AA, and it really didn't work very well. He did have a couple of short stints in AAA in 2003 and 2004 and didn't get much accomplished. It may have hurt him that he was rushed to the majors, or it may be that he simply wasn't good enough, and wouldn't have been no matter how he was handled.
The White Sox swept the series, words that we never like to write. They would come home to play Cleveland for a four-game series next.
Record: The Twins were 43-40, in second place in the American League Central, 1.5 games behind Kansas City. They were only 1.5 games ahead of third-place Chicago.