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Buehrle gets win against Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Mark Buehrle opened an important series for
the Chicago White Sox by quickly disposing of the Minnesota Twins.

And he had to work fast, because his arm felt as if it was on
fire.

Buehrle pitched eight sharp innings in a 6-2 victory Tuesday
night, leading the White Sox past the Twins into first place in the
AL Central.

He threw 108 pitches, 72 for strikes, in a game that lasted only
2 hours, 4 minutes. Buehrle normally uses an ointment to loosen up
his shoulder before a start, but a team trainer talked him into
trying a new one that proved to be more potent than he expected.

"It felt like I had second-degree burns on my arm," Buehrle
said. "I've used some hot stuff before, but not this hot."

Whatever works.

Bouncing back from two bad starts that bloated his ERA by nearly
a run, Buehrle (8-2) gave up eight hits and two runs while
improving to 13-4 against the Twins in 18 career starts. That's his
most wins against any opponent.

"Today was probably the best I've felt as long as I can
remember," Buehrle said. "After the first couple innings, I
didn't think I'd give up a hit."

Jose Valentin hit a solo home run and Juan Uribe added a two-run
shot for the White Sox (40-33), who have won four of five and moved
one percentage point ahead of Minnesota (41-34) into first in the
Central.

Corey Koskie homered for the Twins, who lost their third
straight and swung at several first pitches from Buehrle --
grounding out 14 times against the left-hander.

"He tried to play with the count," Minnesota's Luis Rivas
said. "He doesn't give you a pitch to hit."

By running his fastball inside against right-handers, Buehrle
effectively set up his changeup and sinker on the outside of the
plate.

"He's a very smart pitcher," Twins center fielder Torii Hunter
said.

Buehrle, who struck out six without a walk, fanned three of the
first six batters to reach 500 strikeouts for his career. He
lowered his ERA from 4.49 to 4.33.

After acquiring Freddy Garcia from Seattle on Sunday, Chicago is
brimming with confidence.

"We can't let down," Buehrle said. "We've got two more to go,
and we hope to get a sweep if not win the series."

Shingo Takatsu pitched the ninth, extending his scoreless streak
to 26 1/3 innings, the 10th longest in team history.

Minnesota starter Carlos Silva (8-5) went a career-high 8 2/3
innings, but he lost to Chicago for the third time this year. He
gave up 11 hits and six runs while striking out two and walking
none.

After Timo Perez's RBI double with two outs in the ninth, Grant
Balfour relieved.

"I was throwing the ball wherever I want to throw it," Silva
said. "They beat me. I don't know. It's hard sometimes."

Buehrle and Silva matched up twice in May, with the White Sox
winning those games 11-0 and 8-2. The crowd of 24,704 went home
disappointed with this one, too, though the Twins kept it much
closer. Chicago won four of the previous five meetings by a
combined 47-21 score.

Valentin made it 2-0 in the fourth with a homer to left that Lew
Ford nearly caught with a leap over the wall. Koskie answered that
with a two-out shot into the folded football seats above right
field in the bottom of the inning.

Frank Thomas doubled to start the sixth and came home on a
two-out single by Paul Konerko that put the White Sox up 3-1. The
Twins cut the lead again in their half of the inning when Hunter
drove in Ford with a two-out single.

Carlos Lee's two-out double scored Uribe from first base to give
the White Sox an early lead. The inning would've been over if
second baseman Rivas had caught a soft liner that nicked off his
glove and into right field for a single by leadoff man Perez.

Rivas made up for it in the third inning, though, when he made a
diving stop of a grounder up the middle and threw Thomas out to
keep Jamie Burke from scoring.

Game notes
Koskie, with a .304 average in 46 at-bats, is one of the
few Twins who have hit Buehrle well. ... Silva gave up 12 runs in
seven innings over his first two starts against the Sox. ...
Minnesota 1B Doug Mientkiewicz had three hits in his last 32
at-bats without an RBI. ... There were no walks in the game.