Twins 7, White Sox 3

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CHICAGO (AP)—Johan Santana kept the Chicago White Sox’s short-handed offense off balance and helped the Minnesota Twins increase their AL Central lead.

Santana pitched two-hit ball into the seventh to push the Twins’ lead in the division to 2 1/2 games with a 7-3 win Tuesday night.

“I think coming into this series we knew we were going to have to play some good baseball,” Santana said. “You have to make sure you take care of your own division and we came here to just play the game and have some fun and now we’re in first place.”

Minnesota won for the ninth time in 11 games as Santana—now 7-2 in his last 10 starts—outpitched Freddy Garcia.

As usual, the Twins had plenty of contributions.

Reliever Juan Rincon bailed Santana out when he ran into trouble in the seventh. Cristian Guzman had three hits, including a pair of doubles. And Corey Koskie was hit by a pitch three times, tying a major league record. He also had a walk.

“It was a weird night for him, he kept getting plunked. I don’t know what to call it. I call it black dots. He kept getting on base,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

“It’s not the first time I’m going to get hit and it’s not the last time. To have them all in one game is a little different,” Koskie said, noting none of the pitches were high. “I’ve played hockey. I’ve taken quite a whack.”

Santana (9-6) walked two and struck out six, giving him an AL-best 161 strikeouts, in six-plus innings.

While the Twins are on a roll, the White Sox have dropped three straight. Without injured stars Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas, Chicago’s offense is struggling with just seven runs in the skid.

The White Sox hit three homers—two by Carlos Lee—but all were solo shots. And they finished with four hits.

“We have to move on and play better right now. These are the dog days,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen. “We’re only 2 1/2 out. We’ve been there before and battled back. This team is kind of streaky.”

After Ben Davis singled with one out in the third for the White Sox’s first hit, Santana retired 11 straight before Lee led off the seventh with his 18th homer.

After Lee’s homer, Santana walked Paul Konerko and hit Carl Everett with a pitch before Rincon relieved and retired three straight, two on strikeouts.

The Twins used three straight two-out hits in the fifth to take a 3-0 lead off Garcia (8-9). Garcia, who won four of his five starts since joining the White Sox in a trade from Seattle, gave up seven hits and four runs in 7 1-3 innings.

After Koskie was hit with a pitch and stole second, Garcia retired the next two batters in the fifth. But Shannon Stewart delivered an RBI double to left, Guzman doubled him home and Lew Ford hit a run-scoring single.

Torii Hunter, booed loudly because he crashed into White Sox’s catcher Jamie Burke on Monday night and gave him a concussion, doubled in the sixth, moved up on a grounder and scored on Matt LeCroy’s sacrifice fly.

After the Twins loaded the bases in the ninth on a walk, bunt single by Guzman and infield single by Ford, they tacked on three more runs as Damaso Marte threw a wild pitch, Justin Morneau hit an RBI single and Hunter added a sacrifice fly.

Lee led off the ninth with a homer off reliever Joe Roa. An out later, Everett also connected off Roa to make it 7-3.


It was the 21st time in major league history a player had been hit three times in the same game. It last happened to Richard Hidalgo in April of 2000. … After Koskie was hit by Marte in the eighth, home plate umpire Ed Montague warned both benches. … The Twins called up infielder Jason Bartlett from Triple-A Rochester to replace Nick Punto, who was placed on the disabled list Tuesday after breaking his collarbone Monday night charging a bunt. … A crowd of 37,528 was the White Sox’s eighth sellout of the season, tying a U.S. Cellular Field record set in 2000. … Lee now has 13 homers in July. … Santana pitched at least seven innings in 10 straight starts before the streak ended Tuesday night.

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