Series: Game 2 of 3

Minnesota leads 2-0 (as of 9/28)

Game 1: Friday, September 27
Chicago 1Final
Minnesota 3
Game 2: Saturday, September 28
Chicago 2Final
Minnesota 3
Game 3: Sunday, September 29
Chicago 1Final
Minnesota 3

White Sox 2

(81-80, 34-46 away)

Twins 3

(93-67, 53-27 home)

    1:25 PM ET, September 28, 2002

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

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    CWS 000020000 2 - -
    MIN 10000002 - 3 - -

    W: L. Hawkins (6-0)

    L: M. Buehrle (19-12)

    S: E. Guardado (45)

    Kielty's 2-run shot in eighth trips White Sox

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Good pitching, a late-inning rally, a loud crowd -- the Minnesota Twins gave themselves a little postseason preview.

    Bobby Kielty

    Bobby Kielty ruined Mark Buehrle's quest for 20 wins with a two-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday, giving the Twins a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

    "It felt like a playoff game out there,'' Buehrle said.

    With two outs, Michael Restovich singled and Kielty hit Buehrle's pitch high into right-center field to give the AL Central champions their fourth win in five games.

    With a crowd of 32,072 waving their Homer Hankies, Kielty came back on the field and tipped his cap.

    "That was pretty exciting for me,'' said Kielty, who couldn't remember doing a curtain call before.

    LaTroy Hawkins (6-0) pitched the eighth for the victory, and Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 45th save in 51 chances.

    Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run single and shortstop Jose Valentin turned two spectacular double plays for the White Sox, who must win Sunday to finish above .500 for the third straight season.

    Minnesota begins a best-of-five series Tuesday at Oakland, and the atmosphere in this game was similar to what the Metrodome will be like Friday for Game 3 against the A's.

    "Stay close, catch 'em at the end,'' said manager Ron Gardenhire. "Good pitching, runs are going to be at a premium. That's probably what you're going to see in the playoffs.''

    Buehrle (19-12) was trying to become the first White Sox pitcher to win 20 games since Jack McDowell won 22 in 1993. He gave up 10 hits, three runs and a walk in eight innings, while striking out seven.

    "I can only blame myself,'' Buehrle said. "I had a number of chances to win (20). But 19-12, I'll take that every year.''

    The White Sox, after falling behind by 17 games in the division race, are 22-11 since Aug. 24. Still, they were disappointed their ace couldn't pull it out.

    "This was a real tough loss, personally for him,'' said manager Jerry Manuel. "He gave it all he had.''

    Since they'll be facing Oakland's standout left-handers Mark Mulder and Barry Zito next week in the playoffs, Buehrle gave the Twins a good tuneup.

    They hit him hard early but left two runners on in each of the first two innings. Then he found his groove.

    Cristian Guzman doubled in the first and barely beat Aaron Rowand's strong throw from center on a single by Matthew LeCroy. Torii Hunter doubled, but Doug Mientkiewicz stranded two runners with an inning-ending groundout.

    Michael Cuddyer and A.J. Pierzynski led off the second with singles and moved up on Denny Hocking's sacrifice bunt, but Jacque Jones struck out and Guzman popped out.

    A one-out double by Cuddyer in the fourth was wiped out when Jose Valentin made an over-the-shoulder catch of Pierzynski's blooper and whirled to throw out Cuddyer before he could retreat.

    After a one-out walk by LeCroy, Valentin made a diving stop of Torii Hunter's grounder in the hole and flipped to second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez to start another double play.

    Twins starter Kyle Lohse finished up a strong season by striking out seven in five innings. Lohse, fifth in the rotation coming out of spring training, helped keep an injury-depleted staff together with 31 starts 180 2/3 innings -- second on the team behind veteran Rick Reed.

    Lohse walked four, and his control troubles -- plus Cuddyer's error -- cost him in the fifth. Cuddyer dropped Rowand's fly ball on the run in right-center field, and Jose Valentin and Frank Thomas drew back-to-back walks with two outs.

    Then Ordonez ripped a single up the middle to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead.

    Lohse gave up three hits, and both runs were unearned. His earned-run average was lowered 4.23.

    "There's a lot of room for improvement -- I was a little inconsistent,'' Lohse said. "If you told me at the beginning of the year I'd win 13 games, it'd be hard to believe.''

    Game notes

    Ordonez extended his career-best RBI total to 135, the fourth highest in team history. Albert Belle's 152 in 1998 is the best. Ordonez is second behind Texas' Alex Rodriguez in the AL. ... Jose Valentin and Javier Valentin are brothers. Javier Valentin, who replaced Pierzynski at catcher for the Twins in the sixth inning, played in his first major league game this month since 1999. Minnesota's third-round pick in 1993, Javier Valentin spent the entire 2000 and 2001 seasons in Triple-A. ... Jones is 0-for-19 in his career against Buehrle.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press