CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox aren't the only ones who
can win one-run games.
It was the Twins' fourth straight victory, all by one run.
They're 7-4 in one-run games this year. Chicago fell to 12-4 in
one-run games, including 8-2 at home.
"It's fun baseball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's
exciting for the fans. It's exciting for the coaching staff to
figure out how you're going to get through it."
This time, it was by being patient and getting the right
Jones then singled to a gaping hole in shallow left-center,
scoring Mientkiewicz to tie the game at 2. Shingo Takatsu relieved
Marte, but Ford hit a grounder up the middle that Takatsu couldn't
grab and Hunter easily scored the go-ahead run.
"Marte came out and walked everybody," White Sox manager Ozzie
Guillen said. "I think he is one of the best lefties in the
league, and that's why he was in that situation. He couldn't find
the plate, and he paid the price."
Marte gave up two runs, two walks and a hit in one-third of an
inning. Juan Rincon (5-2) struck out two and walked one in 1 1-3
inning, and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 12
Aaron Rowand homered for Chicago, but the White Sox managed only
two hits in the final five innings and stranded eight, leaving the
bases loaded in the first inning. The White Sox also got their
signals crossed in the ninth inning, with Willie Harris missing the
sign on a hit-and-run. Harris wound up striking out, and Henry
Blanco threw out Aaron Rowand for a game-ending double play.
Chicago has now dropped six of nine.
Minnesota and Chicago have battled for the AL Central the last
two seasons, with the Twins winning it both years. Both teams tried
to downplay the importance of this series, saying it's only May and
they still have 18 games left -- including six more in the next nine
But getting a lead on a division rival is always good, and the
Twins are now two games ahead of Chicago.
"It's early, but you kind of set the tone," Minnesota starter
Kyle Lohse said. "We know we're neck and neck in the division. We
don't want to give games away at any point in the season."
The Twins threatened early, with Shannon Stewart leading off the
game with a single, stealing second and advancing to third on
another single -- all before there was an out. But Scott Schoeneweis
worked out of the jam, striking out Mientkiewicz and getting Hunter
to ground into a double play.
But the White Sox tagged Kyle Lohse for two runs in the fourth.
Carlos Lee led off with a double, took third on a groundout and
tied the game on Joe Crede's sacrifice fly. That brought up Rowand,
who sent a 1-2 pitch soaring into the stands in right field.
The White Sox had a chance to add on in the fifth inning with a
runner on third. But Lohse retired Lee on a fly to end the inning,
and the White Sox had only three more baserunners the rest of the
game -- none getting past first.
"I've been trying to do this for a while now," said Lohse, who
struggled in his previous two starts and hasn't won since April 17.
"Hopefully this will get me going."
The Twins had four steals, two by Stewart. ... Thomas
walked three times, tying Frank Robinson for 20th on the all-time
list with 1,420. ... Guzman's single in the first inning extended
his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Mientkiewicz had a scary moment
in the first inning, tumbling headfirst into the camera well while
chasing a pop foul. He was able to break his fall with his hands,
though, and wasn't hurt.