MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Jon Garland refuses to recognize the pressure of the pennant race, which may be why he keeps winning.
Garland pitched 7 2-3 strong innings, retiring 14 straight at one point, to help the Chicago White Sox beat Minnesota 4-1 on Saturday night to move two games up on the Twins in the wild card race.
“Every game is big,” Garland said when asked about the magnitude of this win. “It doesn’t matter who your facing or the time of the season, you have to win.”
But this win against a division rival and a wild-card contender, allowed the White Sox to move within 5 1/2 games of Detroit in the division and separate themselves from the Twins. It was Chicago’s seventh win in 10 games.
“We needed a performance like that from somebody,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “Especially in this place against a team that’s playing so well.”
“He threw the ball unbelievable,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I can’t be more happy.”
Garland (14-4) allowed five hits and one unearned run, while striking out five and walking just one. He won his major-league leading 10th game on the road and improved to 10-1 with a 2.98 ERA in his last 12 starts.
“Overall I am feeling better,” Garland said. “My arm is feeling better and I am just feeling more comfortable on the mound.”
“That was the best I’ve seen Garland, ever,” said Torii Hunter, who was 0-for-4.
Brad Radke (12-9) allowed three runs—one earned— and six hits in five innings, while striking out six and walking none.
Chicago scored an unearned run with two outs in the first inning, on a misplayed pop up and a throwing error. Jim Thome hit a ball nearly to the top of the Metrodome that second-baseman Luis Castillo lost in the roof for a double.
“If three guys couldn’t find the ball, that’s how high he hit it,” Hunter said. “That was pretty scary.”
The White Sox took advantage of another Twins error in the second. Joe Crede singled with one out, ending an 0-for-16 slide. He moved to second when Nick Punto mishandled Mackowiaks grounder for an error. After a fielders choice, Scott Podsednik blooped an RBI single into center to make it 2-0.
“If you take away those mistakes, he (Radke) ends up taking us into the seventh inning and giving up only one run,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I think that was the ballgame right there.”
Minnesota scored an unearned run in the third when Jason Tyner led off with a single and advanced on second-baseman Tagahito Iguchis throwing error. Jason Bartlett moved Tyner up with a groundout and Luis Castillo struck out looking, before Punto lined an RBI single to right to make it 2-1.
But, the White Sox came right back with a run on Mackowiaks 417-foot shot off Radke in the fourth to make it 3-1.
Thome led off the eighth inning with a double off Willie Eyre and scored two outs later from third base during a rundown at first.
Radke allowed a home run for the first time in 29 innings. …Twins relievers had a 14 1-3 scoreless innings streak snapped. … In the 64 games dating back to June 8, the Twins have the Majors best record (46-18) and have outscored their opponents 351-237. … Chicago improved to 43-3 when allowing three or fewer runs. … Guillen will give Pierzynski the day off on Sunday and play Sandy Alomar Jr. behind the plate.