MINNESOTA 5, CHICAGO 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Thursday, September 18.
Batting stars: Jacque Jones was 2-for-3 with two home runs (his fourteenth and fifteenth), a walk, and four RBIs. Corey Koskie was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
Pitching stars: Kyle Lohse pitched 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out six. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning. Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.
Opposition star: Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4.
The game: Alomar and Carlos Lee opened the game with singles. They were on second and third with two out. Carl Everett then singled them both home, giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. The Twins bounced right back in the bottom of the first. Shannon Stewart walked and Jones hit a two-out two-run homer to tie it 2-2 after one.
The Twins struck again in the third, again with two out. Doug Mientkiewicz doubled and Jones followed with his second two-run homer to make it 4-2 Minnesota. It went to 5-2 in the fourth when Michael Ryan singled, went to third on an error, and scored on a ground out.
Chicago had men on first and third with one out in the fifth, but Lee grounded into a double play. They cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh on doubles by Jose Valentin and Aaron Miles. With two out in the ninth Aaron Rowand singled and Joe Crede walked, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. But Sandy Alomar fouled out and the game went to the Twins.
WP: Lohse (14-11). LP: Bartolo Colon (14-13). S: Guardado (38).
Notes: Stewart was in left, Ryan was in right, and Jones was the DH. Lew Ford pinch-hit for Ryan in the eighth, with Dustan Mohr going to right field in the ninth.
Ryan was 1-for-3 and was batting .381. Ford was 0-for-1 and was batting .321. Jones raised his average to .307. Stewart was 1-for-4 and was also batting .307. A. J. PIerzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .305. Mientkiewicz was 1-for-4 and was batting .304.
Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.89. Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.76.
Colon pitched six innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks and striking out one. He pitched well if you take away the Jones home runs, but as we always say, you can't do that.
The foul popup that ended the game was caught by pitcher Eddie Guardado. It's unusual for a pitcher to catch any popup, much less a foul popup. I don't know what happened, but good play, Eddie.
His RBI double was the first hit of Aaron Miles' career. I don't really remember him, but he played for nine years and played in over 130 games in five of those years. This was his only season with the White Sox--they traded him to Colorado after the season for Juan Uribe. He was with the Rockies for two years, then was traded to St. Louis. He played there for three years, became a free agent, and signed with the Cubs. He was there for one year, then they traded him to Oakland, but before he could play a game for the Athletics he was traded to Cincinnati. They released him before he could play a game for them, but he signed back with St. Louis for another year. He signed with the Dodgers as a free agent and spent one year there. He was mostly a second baseman. With the exception of his one year with the Cubs he would usually post a decent batting average and OBP, although with no power. For his career he batted .281/.320/.352 in 932 games and 3064 plate appearances.
It was the Twins' sixth consecutive win. While the White Sox were obviously not going to give up, it felt like the series sweep pretty much decided the pennant race.
Record: The Twins were 84-69, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Chicago. They were 4.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.