Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at Target Field in Minneapolis, where the Chicago White Sox continued their stunning ascent in the AL Central.
Game of the Day: White Sox 8, Twins 7
September morn: In a game played with pennant-race intensity, every button manager Ozzie Guillen pushed took the Sox where they wanted to go.
• Guillen called for four hit-and-runs — and all of them worked.
• The White Sox produced three sacrifice flies in the first two innings.
• Gordon Beckham(notes) hit a home run at Target (no easy task) and has been heating up since Guillen almost, but didn't quite, banish him.
• Guillen stuck with left-hander John Danks(notes) through a maddening six-run second inning for the Twins, and he got them to the seventh.
• Guillen switched relievers at the right moments; Bobby Jenks(notes) struck out Orlando Hudson(notes) with the bases loaded in the eighth and got Jim Thome(notes) looking in the ninth.
And so, for the ninth straight game, and for the 26th time in 31 games, the White Sox won.
Via the Chicago Tribune:
"(This) was a big win because they wanted to come out and send a message. We wanted to keep doing what we're doing," said A.J. Pierzynski(notes), whose RBI double in the fifth gave the Sox the lead for good at 7-6.
The White Sox were 24-33 and 9 1/2 games out on June 8, but that team seems long gone.
And the Twins, who looked and played like the team to beat for the first 2 1/2 months, fell 4 1/2 games out.
Twin killings: Justin Morneau(notes) just went on the disabled list because of concussion symptoms. Joe Mauer(notes) still ain't quite right. The Twins made mistakes the White Sox usually commit. And Minnesota's starting pitching turned in another stinker.
"No one is more frustrated than we are," [Kevin] Slowey said of the starting pitchers. "We feel like we're letting our team down. We're putting up runs, just like we did today. For me, not to be able to hold that lead and not be able to deal with six runs, that's disappointing."
How this translates into the Twins getting their act together, well, it doesn't. It's just a mustache. Then again, is there such a thing as "just" a mustache?
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They Also Played...
Giants 2, Mets 0: Not sure about his hair, of course, but Tim Lincecum(notes) pitched fresh and clean after getting seven days off. ... Not that it was R.A. Dickey's(notes) fault, but the Giants improved to 3-0 against knuckleballers this season. What about their record against knuckleheads, you ask? Not in the files.
Rangers 7, Red Sox 2: In the first inning, Vladimir Guerrero(notes), Josh Hamilton(notes), Nelson Cruz(notes) and Bengie Molina(notes) just whacked Tim Wakefield(notes) on the knuckles over and over again, like that nun did in the "Blues Brothers." Ow, you old penguin!
Braves 2, Brewers 1: Jason Heyward(notes) earned a couple of ovations for his defense. Beforehand, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that his new teammates gave new shortstop Alex Gonzalez(notes) a standing ovation when he appeared in the clubhouse for the first time. Jeez, did Yunel Escobar(notes) kill all their pets or something?
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