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Jones delivers two big blasts

9/19/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A little more than a week ago, the Chicago
White Sox seemed to be in control of the AL Central.

Now they can only hope the Minnesota Twins collapse.

Jacque Jones hit a pair of two-out, two-run homers off Bartolo
Colon, helping Minnesota complete a pivotal three-game sweep of the
White Sox with a 5-3 victory Thursday night.

After losing two straight in Chicago last week and falling two
games back in the division race, the Twins have won five in a row
against Chicago in a span of eight days to move 3½ games ahead.

"After we lost two there, it could've got real ugly," Twins
starter Kyle Lohse said. "We knew we were in a tough situation. I
think that really made us look at ourselves like, 'We've got to
keep going."

The defending AL Central champions have won six straight overall
and eight of nine.

"There's still time left," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel
said. "But we've got to run the table."

Just about. Chicago plays seven games against Kansas City, which
is 4{ games out, and three against the Yankees.

Minnesota has nine games left -- seven against Detroit, which is
on pace to set a record for the most losses in a season since 1900.

"We've got to be ready," cautioned closer Eddie Guardado, who
pitched a scoreless ninth for his 38th save in 41 tries after
LaTroy Hawkins needed only five pitches to get through the eighth.

Lohse (14-11) worked 6 2/3 innings for the victory, leaving to a
standing ovation from the crowd of 39,948. J.C. Romero got the last
out in the seventh.

In the three games, the White Sox managed just seven runs and
four extra-base hits.

"What can I say? It's demoralizing," center fielder Carl
Everett said.

The Twins have been in several tough situations this season,
after losing 22 of 28 before the All-Star break to finish the first
half 7½ games out.

Three straight losses to Cleveland in mid-August put them four
games back, prompting manager Ron Gardenhire to say that some
players didn't "have a clue."

Now the Twins, who have the best record in the majors in the
second half, are playing their best baseball of the year -- at a
perfect time.

"We can't afford to let down," Gardenhire said. "We have to
come back with the same enthusiasm."

Colon (14-13) had a streak of three straight complete games
snapped. He gave up seven hits, five runs -- four earned -- and three
walks, striking out only one in six innings.

A night after Everett said the Twins seemed like the hungrier
team and two hours after Manuel addressed the club in a closed-door
meeting, the White Sox took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.

Roberto Alomar and Carlos Lee started with consecutive singles,
and Everett drove them in with a two-out single over the head of
second baseman Luis Rivas.

The problems began when Colon walked Shannon Stewart to begin
the bottom half. Two outs later, Jones -- one of the game's most
aggressive hitters (he has only 21 walks this year) -- came to bat.

Colon, surprisingly, threw a strike on the first pitch that
Jones smacked an estimated 436 feet into the upper deck in right
field to tie the game.

Doug Mientkiewicz doubled with two outs in the third. Then
Jones, batting cleanup for the eighth time this season, homered to
center to make it 4-2 and further deflate Chicago's chances of
playing in October.

The Twins took advantage of two errors by the White Sox to go up
by three.

Michael Ryan singled and went to third on a wild pickoff throw
by Colon, scoring on a suicide squeeze attempt by Cristian Guzman.
Colon picked up the bunt and shoveled it to catcher Miguel Olivo,
who had it pop out of his glove as Ryan stopped about 5 feet short
of the plate on his slide. Ryan then reached around with his hand
to touch home.

Frank Thomas, 1-for-12 in this series, hit a high fly to left
that Stewart caught with his back against the wall in the sixth.
Thomas clapped his hands together in disgust as he returned to the
dugout.

Jose Valentin and Aaron Miles hit doubles in the seventh to cut
the lead to 5-3 and chase Lohse, who allowed three runs and eight
hits with six strikeouts.

Game notes
The Twins were disappointed Thursday that results of an
angiogram on 3B coach Al Newman were inconclusive. Newman will have
to undergo more tests before he'll be allowed to leave the
hospital, but "his spirits are good," Gardenhire said. Newman
suffered a brain hemorrhage last week in Chicago. ... Brian Daubach
started at 1B for Paul Konerko, who is 1-for-29 in his career
against Lohse. ... It was the eighth multihomer games of Jones'
career. ... The series drew 113,173 fans. ... The Twins took the
season series 10-9.