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White Sox pad wild-card lead with victory over Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Jon Garland refuses to recognize the pressure
of the pennant race, which may be why he keeps winning.

Garland pitched 7 2/3 strong innings, retiring 14 straight at
one point, to help the Chicago White Sox beat Minnesota 4-1 on
Saturday night to move two games up on the Twins in the wild-card
race.

"Every game is big," Garland said when asked about the
magnitude of this win. "It doesn't matter who your facing or the
time of the season, you have to win."

But this win against a division rival and a wild-card contender,
allowed the White Sox to move within 5½ games of Detroit in the
division and separate themselves from the Twins. It was Chicago's
seventh win in 10 games.

"We needed a performance like that from somebody," catcher
A.J. Pierzynski said. "Especially in this place against a team
that's playing so well."

"He threw the ball unbelievable," manager Ozzie Guillen said.
"I can't be more happy."

Garland (14-4) allowed five hits and one unearned run, while
striking out five and walking just one. He won his major-league
leading 10th game on the road and improved to 10-1 with a 2.98 ERA
in his last 12 starts.

"Overall I am feeling better," Garland said. "My arm is
feeling better and I am just feeling more comfortable on the
mound."

"That was the best I've seen Garland, ever," said Torii
Hunter, who was 0-for-4.

Rob Mackowiak homered for Chicago and Bobby Jenks got the final
three outs for his 35th save in 37 chances.

Brad Radke (12-9) allowed three runs -- one earned-- and six hits
in five innings, while striking out six and walking none.

Chicago scored an unearned run with two outs in the first
inning, on a misplayed pop up and a throwing error. Jim Thome hit a
ball nearly to the top of the Metrodome that second-baseman Luis
Castillo lost in the roof for a double.

"If three guys couldn't find the ball, that's how high he hit
it," Hunter said. "That was pretty scary."

Paul Konerko followed with a grounder to shortstop Jason
Bartlett, who bounced a throw past first base allowing Thome to
score.

The White Sox took advantage of another Twins error in the
second. Joe Crede singled with one out, ending an 0-for-16 slide.
He moved to second when Nick Punto mishandled Mackowiaks grounder
for an error. After a fielders choice, Scott Podsednik blooped an
RBI single into center to make it 2-0.

"If you take away those mistakes, he (Radke) ends up taking us
into the seventh inning and giving up only one run," manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "I think that was the ballgame right there."

Minnesota scored an unearned run in the third when Jason Tyner
led off with a single and advanced on second-baseman Tagahito
Iguchis throwing error. Jason Bartlett moved Tyner up with a
groundout and Luis Castillo struck out looking, before Punto lined
an RBI single to right to make it 2-1.

But the White Sox came right back with a run on Mackowiak's
417-foot shot off Radke in the fourth to make it 3-1.

Thome led off the eighth inning with a double off Willie Eyre
and scored two outs later from third base during a rundown at
first.

Game notes
Radke allowed a home run for the first time in 29 innings.
...Twins relievers had a 14 1/3 scoreless innings streak snapped.
... In the 64 games dating back to June 8, the Twins have the
Majors' best record (46-18) and have outscored their opponents
351-237. ... Chicago improved to 43-3 when allowing three or fewer
runs. ... Guillen will give Pierzynski the day off on Sunday and
play Sandy Alomar Jr. behind the plate.