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Twins 5, White Sox 3

September 24, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ Albert Belle’s team decided the AL Central once again.

The Chicago White Sox were eliminated in the AL Central Tuesday night when they lost 5-3 to the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland rallied to beat New York.

``Anytime you start the season, you hope to win in October,″ White Sox shortstop Ozzie Guillen said. ``This is disappointing.″

The White Sox signed Belle away from the Indians in the offseason for $55 million in hopes of ending Cleveland’s two-year run atop the division. But Cleveland came back to beat the Yankees 10-9 and clinched their third straight title when Chicago lost.

``We’ve been disappointed all year long,″ Chicago’s Frank Thomas said.

The White Sox not only have had to chase Cleveland but also overcome critical comments on Aug. 1 by team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who said ``Anyone who thinks this team can catch Cleveland is crazy.″

Chicago manager Terry Bevington, who was accompanied by his 4-year-old daughter, Courtney, to the postgame media interview room, claimed Reinsdorf’s comments were ``taken out of context.″

``He said if we continue to play in this fashion, we wouldn’t be able to catch them,″ Bevington said. ``They (Indians) clinched the division tonight. We’ve been up against them all season long. It’s not a position we wanted to be in, but that’s baseball.″

With the score tied 3-3, Denny Hocking walked leading off Minnesota’s fifth, and one out later, Brad Brede hit his third home run to make it 5-3. It was Brede’s first homer since Sept. 8 when he connected against Oakland.

However, he missed a sign. Twins manager Tom Kelly had signaled for a hit-and-run.

``That was the best hit-and-run of the year,″ Kelly said. ``That’s what happens when you play with young fellows.″

Thomas hit a three-run homer for the White Sox and kept his league-leading average at 352.

Bob Tewksbury (7-13) gave up five hits in six innings as the Twins won their fourth straight. Rick Aguilera pitched the ninth for his 25th save.

The White Sox collected all five of their hits in the third inning against Tewksbury.

``I’d like to play that inning over again,″ Tewksbury said. ``That’s the advantage they have of Albert batting behind Frank. I know what Frank’s average is. I also know what Albert can do when the bases are loaded. I felt very embarrassed _ not because I gave up a home run to Frank Thomas but I’d like to have that pitch back (to Thomas).″

Jason Bere (4-2), making his final start in his comeback season following elbow surgery, allowed five runs and three hits with three walks in five innings.

``The first inning was tough,″ said Bere, who threw 34 pitches in the first. Compare that to Tewksbury, who needed just seven.

Scott Stahoviak’s two-run single in the first helped the Twins take a 3-0 lead.

Thomas tied it in the third with his 34th homer.

Notes: Chicago’s Robin Ventura had to leave after jamming his right ankle while trying to avoid Stahoviak at first base in the second inning. Ventura, who broke his right ankle in spring training, was listed as day-to-day. ... White Sox reliever Matt Karchner will undergo a MRI on his right elbow on Wednesday. ... Minnesota second baseman Chuck Knoblauch met Tuesday with general manager Terry Ryan to discuss Knoblauch’s request to be traded to a winning team. ``Our first priority is to keep Chuck Knoblauch as our second baseman,″ Ryan said.

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