Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

Minnesota won 3-0

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 1

(81-81, 34-47 away)

Twins 3

(94-67, 54-27 home)

    2:05 PM ET, September 29, 2002

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    CWS 000000100 1 - -
    MIN 00100002 - 3 - -

    W: B. Wells (2-1)

    L: M. Porzio (2-2)

    S: J. Romero (1)

    Twins ready for first postseason since 1991

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Another day, another go-ahead homer for Bobby Kielty.

    But no, he's still not starting in the playoffs.

    Kielty gave Minnesota an eighth-inning lead with a two-run homer for the second time in as many days, and the Twins moved onto the postseason with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

    Manager Ron Gardenhire prefers to use Kielty, a switch hitter who can play all three outfield positions, off the bench. So that's where he'll be when the Twins begin the playoffs Tuesday at AL West champion Oakland.

    "He gives us that little extra off the bench,'' Gardenhire said. "That's not to say I wouldn't (start him). We'll try anything to win.''

    The AL Central winners, in the postseason for the first time since winning the 1991 World Series, won five of six in the regular season's final week and finished a three-game sweep of the White Sox.

    So is this team prepared for the playoffs?

    "A lot of guys have never been there before,'' said Eric Milton, who pitched five shutout innings in his final tuneup. "I don't think you can really say you're ready for it.''

    With AL saves leader Eddie Guardado getting a rest, J.C. Romero worked the ninth for his first save. Jacque Jones went 3-for-3 with an RBI to raise his average to .300 for the Twins, whose eighth-inning rally started when Matthew LeCroy walked with two outs and the game tied at 1 against Mike Porzio (2-2).

    Mike Ryan pinch-ran and Kielty, whose two-run homer in the eighth against Mark Buehrle gave the Twins a 3-2 win Saturday, hit 3-0 pitch into the center-field seats.

    Two curtain calls in two days for Kielty, who stumbled on the top step of the dugout Sunday as a teammate nudged him out on the field to acknowledge the Homer Hanky-waving crowd of 31,270.

    "He stumbled a little bit there, but when you're getting curtain calls, you're doing something right,'' Gardenhire said, "so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt there.''

    The White Sox, who swept a three-game series from the Twins last weekend, finished at 81-81 and 13½ games back of Minnesota -- far worse than anyone expected.

    "I'm glad the young kids got to play at the end,'' said manager Jerry Manuel. "I think we're going in the right direction. I'm looking forward to next spring.''

    Just as fellow starters Brad Radke, Joe Mays and Rick Reed were this week, Milton was sharp in his final outing before the playoffs.

    Expected to start Game 4 of the Twins' divisional series against Oakland Saturday -- if it's necessary -- Milton retired the first eight batters he faced until walking Willie Harris with two outs in the third.

    Milton didn't give up a hit until Aaron Rowand's single with one out in the fifth. Joe Borchard followed with a single, and one out later Harris beat out a grounder to third for an infield hit. But Doug Mientkiewicz whirled and threw a strike to Pierzynski, who tagged out Rowand at the plate.

    Milton allowed three hits and a walk while striking out six. Reed, who'll start Game 3 Friday at the Metrodome, made his first relief appearance since 1997 and pitched a scoreless sixth.

    Rowand singled off Juan Rincon in the seventh and scored on a double by Miguel Olivo to tie the game at 1 and keep Milton stuck on 13 wins. After a three-hit shutout of the White Sox on Aug. 1, Milton tore his left knee Aug. 6 and missed a month.

    Bob Wells (2-1), who Gardenhire said was the last man left off the postseason roster, pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory.

    Jon Garland pitched seven strong innings for the White Sox.

    Luis Rivas hit a two-out single in the third and sped around to score on a double to right-center by Jones, who's been the Twins' best hitter in the second half with a .322 average and 14 homers in 236 at-bats since the All-Star break.

    "We had good at-bats this week,'' Gardenhire said. "You can go right on down the line. We're ready to play.''

    Game notes


    The Twins finished with 94 wins, their fifth-highest total in team history. ... Chicago DH Frank Thomas, who struck out in his last at-bat on Saturday, struck out three times and had his batting average dip to .252. ... Reed has made 224 starts in his career and 21 relief appearances. ... The Twins a season attendance total was 1,924,473. That's an average of 23,759 per game -- up from 22,012 last season. ... Over the last 16 games, White Sox starters had a 2.49 ERA. The 22-year-old Garland went 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA over his final seven starts.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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