Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Minnesota leads 2-0 (as of 9/24)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 23
Chi White Sox3Final
Minnesota9
Game 2: Wednesday, September 24
Chi White Sox2Final
Minnesota3
Game 3: Thursday, September 25
Chi White Sox6Final
in 10
Minnesota7

White Sox 2

(86-71, 35-45 away)

Twins 3

(86-72, 51-26 home)

    8:10 PM ET, September 24, 2008

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    CWS 010100000 2 9 0
    MIN 12000000 - 3 9 0

    W: N. Blackburn (11-10)

    L: M. Buehrle (14-12)

    S: J. Nathan (39)

    White Sox-Twins Preview

    STATS LLC

    If the Chicago White Sox plan on putting the AL Central out of reach for the Minnesota Twins, they must find a way to win at the Metrodome.

    The White Sox, looking to increase the distance between themselves and the second-place Twins, will try for just their second win in eight games in Minnesota on Wednesday in the middle contest of their three-game series.

    Chicago (86-70) and Minnesota (85-72) have vied for the top spot in the AL Central for the better part of the season, and it's likely the current showdown could determine the division champion.

    Each team has five regular-season games remaining, and the 2008 series is tied at eight games apiece.

    But the White Sox haven't had much luck at the Metrodome over the last three years, losing 16 of their last 26 there. They are 1-6 there this season after losing Tuesday's opener 9-3.

    Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 610th homer to move past Sammy Sosa for sole possession of fifth on the career list, but Chicago fell to 3-5 on its 10-game road trip and had its lead over Minnesota reduced to 1 1/2 games. However, manager Ozzie Guillen remained confident in his team's chances for securing its second division title in four years.

    "We cannot feel like we lost the pennant race," Guillen said. "We're still in first place. We can't forget about that. We got to keep fighting like we've been fighting all year long."

    Minnesota, which seeks its fifth division title in seven years, opened its season-ending six-game homestand successfully after a 4-6 road trip.

    Jason Kubel hit two homers and had three RBIs, while Delmon Young homered and drove in two runs for the Twins, who improved to 50-26 at home.

    "If we lost tonight, that's almost the season right there," Kubel, who has gone 8-for-20 (.400) with four homers and nine RBIs during a five-game hitting streak versus the White Sox. "It's one we really needed to have and it just sets up the rest of the series and gives us extra confidence after tonight."

    The Twins look to keep things going against Mark Buehrle (14-11, 3.87 ERA), who is 6-1 with a 3.36 ERA in his last nine starts. He gave up three runs and six hits over six innings in a 9-4 victory at Kansas City on Friday as he pitched on three days' rest.

    "It didn't seem like everything was working, but it's one of those games that I felt good and had to battle through," Buehrle said.

    Buehrle is 21-12 with a 3.85 ERA in 36 career games against the Twins, boasting an 8-3 mark in his last 11 outings. However, he is just 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA in three games this year, and yielded four earned runs and eight hits over five innings of a 7-0 loss at Minnesota on July 28.

    He'll face Nick Blackburn (10-10, 4.15) as he tries to bounce back from a pair of miserable outings.

    The right-hander has compiled a 20.25 ERA and opposing batters have hit .536 against him in losing his last two starts. He was tagged for six runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings of an 11-1 defeat at Tampa Bay on Friday, falling to 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA over his last eight games.

    The Twins have lost four of Blackburn's five lifetime starts against the White Sox. He is 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA in those appearances, and was reached for seven runs and eight hits in four innings of a 10-6 defeat in Chicago on June 6.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Gameday Matchup

     ChicagoMinnesota
    W-L89-7488-75
    Night56-5362-49
    Grass85-5833-42
    Current StreakW3L1
    Last 104-65-5

    Pitching Matchup

    ChicagoMinnesota
    M. Buehrle
    15-12, 3.79 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/28 at CWS
    7.0 IP, 1 ER
    Dec = Win
    N. Blackburn
    11-11, 4.05 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/30 at CWS
    6.1 IP, 1 ER
    Dec = Loss

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.ChicagoMinnesota
    1. D. Wise, LF D. Span, RF
    2. O. Cabrera, SS A. Casilla, 2B
    3. J. Dye, RF J. Mauer, C
    4. J. Thome, DH J. Morneau, 1B
    5. P. Konerko, 1B J. Kubel, DH
    6. K. Griffey Jr., CF D. Young, LF
    7. A. Ramirez, 2B B. Harris, 3B
    8. A. Pierzynski, C N. Punto, SS
    9. J. Uribe, 3B C. Gomez, CF