Twins 3, White Sox 2

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CHICAGO (AP)—The Chicago White Sox aren’t the only ones who can win one-run games.

Jacque Jones tied the game with his third hit, an RBI single, and Lew Ford drove in the go-ahead run to rally the Minnesota Twins to a 3-2 victory over the White Sox on Friday night.

It was the Twins’ fourth straight victory, all by one run. They’re 7-4 in one-run games this year. Chicago fell to 12-4 in one-run games, including 8-2 at home.

“It’s fun baseball,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s exciting for the fans. It’s exciting for the coaching staff to figure out how you’re going to get through it.”

This time, it was by being patient and getting the right pitches.

Protecting a 2-1 lead in the eighth, Damaso Marte (1-2) relieved and retired Cristian Guzman on a flyout. But he walked Doug Mientkiewicz and Torii Hunter— Hunter on only four pitches.

Jones then singled to a gaping hole in shallow left-center, scoring Mientkiewicz to tie the game at 2. Shingo Takatsu relieved Marte, but Ford hit a grounder up the middle that Takatsu couldn’t grab and Hunter easily scored the go-ahead run.

“Marte came out and walked everybody,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think he is one of the best lefties in the league, and that’s why he was in that situation. He couldn’t find the plate, and he paid the price.”

Marte gave up two runs, two walks and a hit in one-third of an inning. Juan Rincon (5-2) struck out two and walked one in 1 1-3 inning, and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 12 chances.

Aaron Rowand homered for Chicago, but the White Sox managed only two hits in the final five innings and stranded eight, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning. The White Sox also got their signals crossed in the ninth inning, with Willie Harris missing the sign on a hit-and-run. Harris wound up striking out, and Henry Blanco threw out Aaron Rowand for a game-ending double play.

Chicago has now dropped six of nine.

Minnesota and Chicago have battled for the AL Central the last two seasons, with the Twins winning it both years. Both teams tried to downplay the importance of this series, saying it’s only May and they still have 18 games left—including six more in the next nine days.

But getting a lead on a division rival is always good, and the Twins are now two games ahead of Chicago.

“It’s early, but you kind of set the tone,” Minnesota starter Kyle Lohse said. “We know we’re neck and neck in the division. We don’t want to give games away at any point in the season.”

The Twins threatened early, with Shannon Stewart leading off the game with a single, stealing second and advancing to third on another single—all before there was an out. But Scott Schoeneweis worked out of the jam, striking out Mientkiewicz and getting Hunter to ground into a double play.

Schoeneweis wasn’t as fortunate in the second inning. Michael Cuddyer drew a two-out walk, advanced to third on Matthew LeCroy’s single and scored on Luis Rivas’ single to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

But the White Sox tagged Kyle Lohse for two runs in the fourth. Carlos Lee led off with a double, took third on a groundout and tied the game on Joe Crede’s sacrifice fly. That brought up Rowand, who sent a 1-2 pitch soaring into the stands in right field.

The White Sox had a chance to add on in the fifth inning with a runner on third. But Lohse retired Lee on a fly to end the inning, and the White Sox had only three more baserunners the rest of the game—none getting past first.

“I’ve been trying to do this for a while now,” said Lohse, who struggled in his previous two starts and hasn’t won since April 17. “Hopefully this willget me going.”


The Twins had four steals, two by Stewart. … Thomas walked three times, tying Frank Robinson for 20th on the all-time list with 1,420. … Guzman’s single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 10 games. … Mientkiewicz had a scary moment in the first inning, tumbling headfirst into the camera well while chasing a pop foul. He was able to break his fallwith his hands, though, and wasn’t hurt.

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