Series: Game 1 of 3

Minnesota leads 1-0 (as of 9/27)

Game 1: Friday, September 27
Chicago 1Final
Minnesota 3
Game 2: Saturday, September 28
Chicago 2Final
Minnesota 3
Game 3: Sunday, September 29
Chicago 1Final
Minnesota 3

White Sox 1

(81-79, 34-45 away)

Twins 3

(92-67, 52-27 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 27, 2002

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

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    CWS 100000000 1 - -
    MIN 00000102 - 3 - -

    W: T. Fiore (10-3)

    L: G. Glover (7-8)

    S: E. Guardado (44)

    Mays pitches well in final start before playoffs

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins are finally healthy, and now they look ready for the playoffs.

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    Corey Koskie's two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Twins to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

    Michael Ryan singled for his first major league hit with one out in the eighth. Koskie connected on the first pitch from Kelly Wunsch, who replaced Gary Glover (7-8).

    "This is getting exciting,'' Koskie said of preparing for his team's first postseason appearance since 1991. "It felt like a playoff game out there tonight.''

    More importantly, left fielder Jacque Jones returned to the starting lineup, meaning the Twins are back at full strength after a string of minor injuries in the past two weeks. And they got an impressive outing from Joe Mays, who will pitch Game 2 of the AL division series in Oakland.

    Mays pitched six strong innings and retired 15 of his final 16 batters.

    After giving up Magglio Ordonez's RBI single in the first inning, Mays faced runners at the corners with no outs in the second.

    But Mays got two popups and a grounder to get out of the inning. He went on to retire his next nine hitters as well.

    After Frank Thomas led off the sixth with a single, Mays retired the next three hitters. He departed after the sixth, giving up five hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

    "Joe Mays got his work in right where we wanted him to be,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

    The right-hander had been inconsistent since his return from the disabled list in July. Mays gave up seven runs in just four innings in his last start Sunday in Chicago.

    "Last time out against them I didn't have a curveball,'' Mays said. "So they just gave up on that pitch. Tonight I was throwing my curve and my slider for strikes. It made a big difference.''

    Tony Fiore (10-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory, and Eddie Guardado worked the ninth for his 44th save in 50 opportunities.

    The Twins narrowly dodged another injury in the sixth inning when first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and Joe Crede collided, but both stayed in the game.

    Crede hit a dribbler down the first-base line, and Mientkiewicz ran toward home plate to field the ball. The ball and both players arrived at the same time and both were knocked backward by the force of the collision.

    The ball was ruled foul and, after a couple of minutes, both players got up and the at-bat resumed.

    Mientkiewicz left after the sixth inning, as did several of the other Twins starters.

    Chicago starter Jon Rauch allowed just one baserunner in the first five innings, on Luis Rivas' third-inning single. But the Twins got to him in the sixth when Rivas singled, went to third on Jacque Jones' single and scored as Cristian Guzman beat out a bunt on a safety squeeze play.

    Rauch pitched seven innings, giving up five hits and striking out four in his sixth major league start.

    "I think I proved today I can get big league hitters out,'' he said.

    Game notes

    Koskie's homer was the Twins' 165th of the year, their best total since 1992. ... Plate umpire Charlie Relaford was momentarily dazed when David Ortiz's bat struck him on the back of the head during a backswing. Twins trainer Jim Kahmann came out to check on Relaford, but the umpire stayed in the game. ... Jones, who sprained his ankle on Sept. 17 in Detroit, hit leadoff and went 1-for-3 in six innings. ... With his first-inning single, Ordonez has a career-high 133 RBI. ... White Sox left fielder Carlos Lee will miss the series to be with his wife, who is expecting a baby. ... The Twins are 23-3 in series openers at home. ... The Twins are assured of finishing .500 or better in each month of the season for the first time since 1969.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press