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Chi. White Sox000201000371
Minnesota «10020121x7140

Hunter, Twins bullpen send ChiSox to third loss in four games

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The way Pat Neshek sees it, Joe Nathan isn't the only closer in the Minnesota Twins' bullpen.

"I think a lot of us have been previous closers coming up through the minors or with other organizations," Neshek said. "Just having that mentality plays a lot into it."

The Twins' bullpen limited Chicago to one hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings and Torii Hunter homered for the first time since July 31 in a 7-3 victory over the White Sox on Friday night.

Neshek (3-0), the sidewinder from nearby Brooklyn Park, threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings to lead the way and Justin Morneau added two hits and two RBI to help the Twins cut Chicago's lead in the AL wild-card race to one game.

Dennys Reyes, Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier followed Neshek in relief for the Twins, whose bullpen has allowed just two runs in its last 31 innings.

"No offense against our bullpen or anybody's bullpen, but you don't want to get into a battle of bullpens with them," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "They have a good one. A great one."

The lights-out bullpen, combined with Hunter's regained power stroke, got the Twins off to a good start in an important three-game series.

Hunter hadn't homered in 17 games, a span of 62 at-bats, before hooking Freddy Garcia's second pitch of the sixth inning around the left-field foul pole for a 4-3 lead. Hunter is 15-for-37 (.405) with four homers and seven RBI against Garcia (11-8), who gave up five runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings.

"Fastball," Garcia said of the pitch Hunter hit. "I missed my spot. I tried to go inside and it was down the middle."

Jermaine Dye homered and Konerko had two hits and an RBI for the defending World Series champions, who have lost three of their last four games.

"They were better in every area, so it makes sense they won the game," Konerko said.

Minnesota boosted its lead in the seventh off Neal Cotts. With Nick Punto on second and one out, Michael Cuddyer was intentionally walked and Morneau lofted a fly ball into shallow center.

Rookie Brian Anderson charged in a little too hard on the play, and the ball bounced over his head, allowing Cuddyer to score from first on the single and error. It was Anderson's first error in 111 career games in the outfield.

Minnesota added another run in the eighth off David Riske when Punto singled home Jason Tyner, who had three hits.

"Today was one of the days people had us picked to lose," Hunter said. "Boof went out there and did his thing."

Facing fifth starter Boof Bonser for the first time, it took the White Sox a while to figure him out.

Konerko doubled off the left-field wall in the fourth, and Dye followed with his 33rd homer, tying the career high he set in 2000 in Kansas City. It put the White Sox ahead 2-1.

Doubles by Hunter and Jason Kubel, and Luis Castillo's sacrifice fly gave the Twins a 3-2 lead in the bottom half.

Bonser left with one out in the sixth inning after giving up a double to Thome and a tying single to Konerko. He allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"That's we have to do against these guys," Bonser said. "Keep taking games and get ahead of them."

Earlier this week, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said it would be his starting pitchers who determined whether the team returned to the postseason this year, not the powerful offense.

Garcia has been among the inconsistent starters for the White Sox. After starting the year 10-4 with a 4.64 ERA, he is 1-4 with a 5.25 ERA in his last nine starts.

"Freddy threw the ball well," Guillen said. "They got a couple of blooper hits. The score doesn't show how good he threw."

Notes

  • White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski was booed loudly. Pierzynski was one of the building blocks of the Twins' AL Central title-winning teams from 2002-04, before being traded to San Francisco to make room for Joe Mauer.
  • Tyner's bunt single in the fourth was the Twins' 142nd infield hit of the season, which leads the majors.
  • Chicago 3B Joe Crede went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 16 at-bats.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Manager Ozzie Guillen calls for relief after Freddy Garcia allows five runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3.  (AP)
Manager Ozzie Guillen calls for relief after Freddy Garcia allows five runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Chicago

J. Dye
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF3010110 .264
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B4000012 .286
Jim Thome, DH4110011 .295
Paul Konerko, 1B4121000 .311
Jermaine Dye, RF4112021 .324
A.J. Pierzynski, C3010110 .306
Joe Crede, 3B4000002 .293
Juan Uribe, SS3010013 .247
   a- Alex Cintron, PH1000000 .279
Brian Anderson, CF3000011 .221
   b- Rob Mackowiak, PH1000000 .299
Totals343732810 
a-grounded out for Uribe in the 9th
b-grounded out for Anderson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jim Thome (19, Bonser), Paul Konerko (22, Bonser), Juan Uribe (22, Bonser)
HR - Jermaine Dye (33, Bonser)
RBI - Paul Konerko (86), Jermaine Dye 2 (91)
SB - Scott Podsednik (33, 2nd base off Neshek/Mauer)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Brian Anderson (1, )
Chicago White Sox
Freddy Garcia (L,11-8) 6.11055041 4.87
Neal Cotts 0.2110220 3.59
David Riske 1311000 3.03
IBB - Cuddyer by Neal Cotts, by Hunter
Pitches-Strikes - Freddy Garcia 105-68, Neal Cotts 23-11, David Riske 23-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Freddy Garcia 3-12, David Riske 2-1
Batters Faced - Freddy Garcia 29, Neal Cotts 5, David Riske 6
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B4001002 .282
Nick Punto, 3B5231001 .317
Joe Mauer, C5020011 .360
Michael Cuddyer, RF4110123 .268
Justin Morneau, 1B4022001 .318
Torii Hunter, CF3221102 .273
Jason Kubel, DH4111022 .264
Jason Tyner, LF4130010 .325
Jason Bartlett, SS4000003 .356
Totals3771462615 
Batting
2B - Torii Hunter (16, Garcia), Jason Kubel (8, Garcia)
HR - Torii Hunter (16, Garcia)
SF - Luis Castillo (2)
RBI - Luis Castillo (45), Nick Punto (32), Justin Morneau 2 (106), Torii Hunter (61), Jason Kubel (26)
2-OUT RBI - Nick Punto (11), Justin Morneau 2 (46)
SB - Nick Punto (14, 2nd base off Cotts/Pierzynski), Jason Tyner (1, 2nd base off Garcia/Pierzynski), Jason Bartlett (3, 2nd base off Garcia/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 9
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser 5.1633251 5.51
Pat Neshek (W,3-0) 1.1100020 0.84
Dennys Reyes (H,7) 0.1000000 0.99
Jesse Crain (H,5) 1000010 4.37
Matt Guerrier 1000000 3.05
WP - Boof Bonser (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 80-52, Pat Neshek 22-15, Dennys Reyes 4-3, Jesse Crain 11-7, Matt Guerrier 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 8-3, Pat Neshek 1-1, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Jesse Crain 2-0, Matt Guerrier 2-1
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 24, Pat Neshek 5, Dennys Reyes 1, Jesse Crain 3, Matt Guerrier 3
Game Information
Attendance - 43204
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Jim Joyce