White Sox 2, Twins 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Jon Garland hadn’t won in almost a month. The White Sox hadn’t swept the Twins in Minnesota in nine years.
Those streaks, like Minnesota’s lead in the AL Central, are history.
Carlos Lee hit a two-run homer, Garland pitched seven strong innings and Chicago completed a three-game sweep of the Twins with a 2-1 victory Thursday.
The White Sox, who moved two games ahead of Minnesota in the AL Central, have won six of seven at the Metrodome this year. Chicago is nine games over .500, matching its season high.
“We haven’t done that for a long time,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said after Chicago’s first sweep at the Metrodome since June 1995. “To come in here down by one and leave up by two—you don’t expect that.”
“I hadn’t been throwing too good in my last few starts,” Garland said after winning for the first time in five starts since June 4. “It was a good time for me, a good time for the team, and a great place to do it.”
The Twins wasted an outstanding performance by Johan Santana (6-5), who struck out 12 in eight innings. He gave up three hits and walked two. Santana has fanned 10 or more batters in four of his last five starts and had won four straight before Thursday.
“He was tremendous,” Guillen said. “This kid is one of the best pitchers in the American League right now. We told our guys before the game that we needed to pitch well to beat him, and that’s what we did.”
Santana made his only mistakes in the first inning, but it was enough to ruin his day. He issued a two-out walk to Frank Thomas on a full-count slider that just missed, and Lee hit the next pitch two rows beyond the left-field fence for his seventh homer of the season.
“Who would’ve known that was the difference in the game?” Santana said. “Sometimes you make some pitches and you don’t get the call.”
The Twins nearly tied the score two batters into the bottom of the first. Cristian Guzman led off with a single, and Doug Mientkiewicz doubled high off the wall in right-center. Shortstop Jose Valentin smothered Lew Ford’s RBI groundout up the middle, allowing Guzman to score but freezing Mientkiewicz at second base, and that’s where Garland stranded him.
Santana started rolling as he struck out the side in the second and fanned two more batters in the third and fourth. At one point he retired 11 straight hitters, eight by strikeouts. After Lee’s home run, he allowed only a one-out single to Aaron Rowand in the fifth and a two-out base hit to Timo Perez in the eighth.
“He did everything he could do,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He was pretty good. That’s unfortunate.”
Minnesota had two runners on base in the fifth and seventh, but Guzman lined into a double play in the fifth, then lined out to Lee in left field to end the seventh.
Although the sweep knocked Minnesota two games behind the White Sox in the standings, the two-time defending AL Central champions aren’t ready to concede anything.
“We’re not even halfway done,” Mauer said. “When it comes down to September and stuff like that, then you can start worrying about those things.”
Still, when the slugging White Sox rely on pitching and defense to pull out a 2-1 victory against one of the hottest pitchers in the league, it could be a sign that Chicago is in it for the long haul.
“Our pitching is giving us the opportunity to win,” Valentin said. “You’re not going to have a lot of offense every game. You’ve got to be able to win some one-run games. Beating these guys is not easy, but the way we did,it’s a great feeling.”
Mientkiewicz is 12-for-78 with three RBIs in his last 22 games. … Minnesota has been outscored 374-352 this year, while the White Sox have outscored their opponents 433-358. … Twins pitchers have given up at leastone home run in 15 consecutive games.