CHICAGO (AP) -- Paul Konerko is proud of his big season at the
plate. He just wishes the Chicago White Sox were also fighting for
the division title.
Konerko hit a game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning to
lead the White Sox to a 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on
Wednesday night. Two days after Minnesota clinched the AL Central
and eliminated the White Sox, Chicago won the next two games."Only eight teams are going to get in, but when it doesn't go
your way everybody is fighting for their own story," said Konerko,
who has hit a career-high 40 homers and driven in a career-high 111
runs.Wilson Valdez led off with a single off Joe Roa (2-3) and moved
to second on Aaron Rowand's sacrifice. Roa then walked Willie
Harris and Konerko followed with a single to left, giving the White
Sox the win."Even though we clinched our division, we still have to take
pride in what we do," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They're
trying. It's not like they're not trying, but I am sure you lose a
little bit of an edge a little bit. Hopefully we can get that edge
back."Neal Cotts (4-3) got one out in the ninth to earn the victory
for Chicago, which got 3 2/3 scoreless innings from its bullpen."The bullpen kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win
the game late," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.Trailing 6-3, the White Sox came back to tie it in the sixth.
Konerko singled off Twins starter Terry Mulholland, Carl Everett
was hit by a pitch and Jamie Burke followed with an infield single
to load the bases. Ross Gload drove in Konerko on a single, chasing
Mullholland.The White Sox tied it when first baseman Matthew LeCroy made a
throwing error while fielding Joe Borchard's fielder's choice
grounder to first. LeCroy threw it past shortstop Cristian Guzman
trying to get the force out at second, and Everett and Burke
scored. Gload tried to score from second on Joe Crede's single to
center, but Torii Hunter easily threw him out at the plate.Luis Rivas started the fifth inning with a single and two outs
later, Jones put the Twins ahead with a two-run homer to
left-center that gave the Twins a 4-3 lead.LeCroy doubled in the sixth off White Sox starter Jason Grilli.
Kubel hit a two-run homer, chasing Grilli and extending the Twins
lead to 6-3.Kubel, who hit his second homer in two nights, has earned
himself a spot on the Twins' playoff roster. He's 9-for-22 in his
last nine games."I was happy to be considered. Going is a real honor for me to
be part of this," Kubel said. "Hopefully I can help out in the
postseason. I'd say for me it will most likely be a learning
experience for the future."Mulholland gave up a leadoff single to Borchard in the third,
and one out later, Valdez hit a run-scoring double. Rowand followed
with an RBI double and Harris hit an RBI single to give the White
Sox a 3-2 lead.In the first inning, Koskie hit an RBI ground-rule double and
LeCroy had a run-scoring ground out.Mulholland allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Grilli went 5 1-3 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits.
INF Juan Uribe and Carlos Lee were late scratches from the
White Sox's lineup. Uribe was out with a sore lower back and Lee
was out for personal reasons. ... Gardenhire gave 1B Justin Morneau
another day off. Morneau has missed four games after having a
cortisone shot in his left hand Sunday. He's day-to-day. ...
Everett was back in the lineup for the first time since Sept. 8.
... Jones' two-run homer was his first since Aug. 28 at Anaheim.