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Minnesota at Chicago

Final 11th
W: W. Eyre (1-0) L: M. Thornton (4-2)
HR: MIN - T. Hunter (21)   CHW - R. Gload (2), S. Alomar (1), P. Konerko (29), J. Dye (38)

Punto's RBI single in 11th inning pushes Twins over ChiSox

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- Jermaine Dye's two-run, ninth-inning homer off stellar closer Joe Nathan tied the game and sent the crowd at U.S. Cellular Field into a frenzy.

What it didn't do was deflate the Minnesota Twins.

Nick Punto singled in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 11th and Minnesota pushed its wild card lead over Chicago to 1½ games Saturday night by beating the White Sox 8-7.

"We just keep fighting. We don't get down," Punto said after the Twins won for the ninth time in 12 games and moved within four games of AL Central leader Detroit.

"Super Joe Nathan blew a save," Punto said. "He never does that. Some teams might get down. We didn't."

It was just the second blown save in 29 chances this season for Nathan. This time it was his teammates' turn to bail him out.

"That's the way we come in and play the game," Nathan said. "The game was tied. It's not like we were losing. We knew we still had some baseball to play."

The Twins used a small-ball approach to push across the game winner against Matt Thornton (4-2).

Pinch-hitter Lew Ford led off the 11th with a single, moved to second on Jason Bartlett's sacrifice and to third on Luis Castillo's grounder. Punto then hit the ball the other way past diving Chicago first baseman Ross Gload to score Ford.

"They don't lean on one guy. They're all playing good baseball," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Willie Eyre (1-0) pitched two innings for his first major league win.

Dye's 38th homer followed a single by Tadahito Iguchi, who moved to second on an error.

But the long drive to left couldn't keep the defending World Series champions from losing for the eighth time in 12 games, including the first two of the three-game series with Minnesota.

"A good game. A tough loss," Dye said. "A lot of emotion out there. We fought back against (Johan) Santana and then to tie the game was great. We just let one get away."

Santana, who'd already beaten the White Sox three times this season, allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, including homers to Gload and Sandy Alomar Jr. He left with a 6-3 lead.

But Chicago rallied against the Twins' bullpen.

Paul Konerko hit his 29th homer, connecting off Juan Rincon in the eighth to make it 6-4. After Dennys Reyes walked two to load the bases and threw two more balls, Pat Neshek relieved and gave up a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Alex Cintron before striking out A.J. Pierzynski.

The Twins then made it 7-5 with an unearned run in the top of the ninth off Bobby Jenks when Tyner led off by reaching on Juan Uribe's error. Castillo had an infield single and Punto a sacrifice fly.

Minnesota drove struggling Chicago starter Jose Contreras out after 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. He gave up five runs and seven hits and in his last three starts has surrendered 27 hits and 19 runs in 14 1/3 innings.

"I've never seen Jose worse than that," Guillen said. "I'm worried about him now."

Rondell White and Jason Tyner had two RBI each and Torii Hunter homered off Brandon McCarthy to help the Twins build their lead.

White drove an RBI triple over Rob Mackowiak's head in center, reaching third with an ugly chest-first slide. Tyner then dropped a soft single to right-center and the Twins had a 2-0 lead.

Bartlett, who had the go-ahead single Friday night in the ninth inning, then hit a ground-rule double over Mackowiak's head to make it 3-0. Mackowiak had an RBI grounder in the second inning after the White Sox loaded the bases.

White delivered an RBI grounder in the third after singles by Cuddyer and Justin Morneau before Tyner lined a run-scoring single to right to make it 5-1 and finish Contreras.


  • Rain delayed the start of the game 25 minutes.
  • Alomar's homer was his first since Sept. 17, 2004, against Detroit. He is in his third stint with the White Sox.
  • Sox DH Jim Thome missed his third straight game with a strained left hamstring.
  • Twins RHP Brad Radke, who left Friday night's start after two innings, went back to Minnesota to have a cortisone injection in his right shoulder. He has been pitching with a torn labrum.
  • Hunter has homered in four straight games.
  • Castillo stole his 300th career base.
  • Dye, who was 0-for-4 when he homered, now has 101 RBI.
Copyright 2017 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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Minnesota's Lew Ford scores in the 11th inning as Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski watches.  (AP)
Minnesota's Lew Ford scores in the 11th inning as Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski watches. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Dye
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1

N. Punto
AB 5
R 0
H 1
HR 0

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B5010102 .290
Nick Punto, 3B5012012 .309
Joe Mauer, C4000203 .356
Michael Cuddyer, RF5110023 .275
Justin Morneau, 1B5120000 .317
Torii Hunter, CF5211032 .276
Rondell White, DH5112000 .220
Jason Tyner, LF4222000 .320
   a- Lew Ford, PH-LF1110000 .232
Jason Bartlett, SS3011102 .347
a-singled for Tyner in the 11th
2B - Jason Bartlett (16, Contreras)
3B - Rondell White (1, Contreras)
HR - Torii Hunter (21, McCarthy)
SF - Nick Punto (5)
SH - Jason Bartlett (1)
RBI - Nick Punto 2 (36), Torii Hunter (69), Rondell White 2 (27), Jason Tyner 2 (11), Jason Bartlett (22)
2-OUT RBI - Nick Punto (13), Torii Hunter (34), Jason Tyner (6)
SB - Luis Castillo (19, 2nd base off Jenks/Pierzynski), Jason Tyner 2 (3, 2nd base off Contreras/S. Alomar, 2nd base off Jenks/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Bartlett-Castillo-Morneau
E - Michael Cuddyer (3, ), Nick Punto (10, )
Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana 7632142 3.01
Juan Rincon (H,23) 0.1222011 2.73
Dennys Reyes0000200 0.95
Pat Neshek (H,5) 0.2000010 1.14
Joe Nathan (BS,2) 1222001 1.80
Willie Eyre (W,1-0) 2100000 5.54
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 95-61, Juan Rincon 12-7, Dennys Reyes 9-1, Pat Neshek 16-11, Joe Nathan 20-13, Willie Eyre 23-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 9-9, Joe Nathan 1-2, Willie Eyre 2-3
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 29, Juan Rincon 3, Dennys Reyes 2, Pat Neshek 2, Joe Nathan 5, Willie Eyre 6
Chicago White Sox
Pablo Ozuna, LF4020010 .336
    Scott Podsednik, LF2010000 .260
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B6110014 .283
Jermaine Dye, RF5112011 .326
Paul Konerko, DH5221001 .309
Joe Crede, 3B5110011 .294
Ross Gload, 1B4121100 .308
Juan Uribe, SS4000100 .242
Rob Mackowiak, CF3001010 .300
   a- Alex Cintron, PH0001000 .274
    Brian Anderson, CF1000000 .227
Sandy Alomar Jr., C2111102 .279
   b- A.J. Pierzynski, PH-C2000012 .297
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Mackowiak in the 8th
b-struck out for S. Alomar in the 8th
HR - Jermaine Dye (38, Nathan), Paul Konerko (29, Rincon), Ross Gload (2, Santana), Sandy Alomar Jr. (1, Santana)
SF - Alex Cintron (2)
RBI - Jermaine Dye 2 (101), Paul Konerko (92), Ross Gload (13), Rob Mackowiak (19), Alex Cintron (34), Sandy Alomar Jr. (13)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Uribe-Gload
E - Juan Uribe (11, )
Chicago White Sox
Jose Contreras 2.2755210 4.25
Brandon McCarthy 5.1111141 3.82
Bobby Jenks 2110110 3.43
Matt Thornton (L,4-2) 1211000 3.38
IBB - Mauer by Bobby Jenks
Pitches-Strikes - Jose Contreras 73-43, Brandon McCarthy 63-39, Bobby Jenks 24-14, Matt Thornton 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jose Contreras 5-2, Brandon McCarthy 5-6, Bobby Jenks 3-3, Matt Thornton 3-0
Batters Faced - Jose Contreras 17, Brandon McCarthy 17, Bobby Jenks 9, Matt Thornton 5
Game Information
Attendance - 38636
Game Time - 3:37
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg