Minnesota (88-62) at Chicago (74-75)

Fair Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue Sep 21, 2004
  • TV: FSNO, FSCH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After clinching their third straight division crown, the Minnesota Twins can turn their attention toward earning home field advantage in the playoffs.

The Twins hope to add to their successful season as they continue their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

Minnesota trails the New York Yankees by six games for the best record in the AL and the Twins have a half-game lead on Oakland for the second best record with 12 games to play.

The Twins would play the Boston Red Sox, who have a five-game lead over Anaheim in the wild card race, in the first round of the playoffs if the season ended today. If Minnesota finishes behind Oakland then they’d likely draw the Yankees in the first round.

Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie each hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and the Twins clinched their third straight division crown on their main rivals’ home turf, beating the White Sox 8-2 on Monday.

“This one is better than the other two,” Hunter said. “We had to sit around for the last two years and sit in the locker room and watch the game and wait for somebody to lose and then we could get pumped up again. Just to celebrate on the field, that was the best feeling ever, man.”

It’s the first time in the team’s 44-year history the Twins have reached the playoffs in three straight seasons.

“They’re all great,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Minnesota’s three straight division titles. “It means everything in the world.”

As if watching the Twins celebrate in their own park wasn’t bad enough, the loss officially eliminated the White Sox from the playoffs. They have lost seven games in a row to Minnesota, and eight of nine at home.

“I will admit it stinks watching it,” Chicago firstbaseman Paul Konerko said.

The White Sox finished second to the Twins in the AL Central last season too.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Lohse Mil vs. J. Garland Col
9-13 Record 12-11
5.34 ERA 4.89
111 K 113
76 BB 76
1.63 WHIP 1.38