Twins Defeat White Sox 4-2, Could Sweep
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Kenny Rogers helped the Minnesota Twins close in on a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox.
Rogers (12-8) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, and Michael Ryan homered as the defending AL Central champs beat the White Sox 4-2 on Wednesday night.
The win put Minnesota 2 1/2 games ahead of Chicago, which will try to avoid a sweep Thursday night at the Metrodome.
Rogers struck out three and walked none in his first win since Aug. 21. Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 37th save in 40 chances.
Luis Rivas went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and scored two runs for the Twins, who won their fourth straight over the White Sox in front 40,304 Homer Hankey-waving fans.
Pitching after a week off, Jon Garland (11-12) lasted just 4 2-3 innings. He allowed four earned runs, six hits and walked a season-high five.
Garland would have pitched Tuesday night, but manager Jerry Manuel flip-flopped Garland and Esteban Loaiza in the hopes that Loaiza, a 19-game winner, would set the tone for the series. But Loaiza was wild, while Twins starter Brad Radke turned in a solid performance.
Trying to even the series at 1-1, Garland kept his pitch count low early thanks to some good fielding by his teammates.
But Ryan got to Garland in the third, sending his third pitch 416 feet into the folded seats above the right-field wall.
Cristian Guzman followed with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on Shannon Stewart’s groundout. He scored on Rivas’ infield single, and Rivas scored on Doug Mientkiewicz’s double to make it 3-0.
The Twins added another run in the fourth with two outs when Jacque Jones hit an RBI single. That knocked Garland out of the game, and Kelly Wunsch came in. Wunsch walked Corey Koskie to load the bases for Torii Hunter, and the White Sox replaced Wunsch with Scott Sullivan.
Hunter then flied out to center to end the threat.
J.C. Romero relieved in the seventh after Rogers allowed Joe Crede’s two-run homer which hit the foul pole and cut the Twins’ lead to 4-2 with one out.
Romero got the Twins out of the inning and LaTroy Hawkins worked a 1-2-3 eighth.
Notes: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said third-base coach Al Newman is recovering from a brain hemorrhage he suffered last week. ``He’s feeling good,″ Gardenhire said before the game. ... Koskie made an impressive out in the sixth, snaring Magglio Ordonez’s hard liner down the left-field line to bring the crowd to its feet. ... The White Sox haven’t been this far out of first since Aug. 18. ... Chicago is 7-5 in its last 12. ... Crede hit Chicago’s 210th homer this season _ the fourth-highest total in the AL. ... The attendance was the Twins’ largest since they drew 48,617 on opening day.