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Chicago at Minnesota

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Chi. White Sox (24-24)1320000006101
Minnesota (27-25) «013002001770

Hunter, Twins walk away with victory over White Sox

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins pieced together another small-ball comeback, leaving Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen a little jealous -- and mostly furious.

Torii Hunter's four-pitch, bases-loaded walk forced in the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning and sent the surging Twins past the struggling White Sox 7-6 on Wednesday for a three-game sweep.

About 19 months after Chicago's World Series title, Guillen was so frustrated by another flat performance that during his latest rant he almost sounded resigned to losing his job.

"I'm going to get fired? Good. Is this team going to get better having me out of there? I'd be too happy with it. But as long as I'm here, we've got to play better. As long as I'm here, we have to play better," Guillen said after the fourth straight loss by the White Sox (24-24).

Minnesota moved past Chicago into third place in the AL Central, rallying from a 6-1 deficit after 2½ innings against Jon Garland.

After beating the White Sox by a combined 19-6 the first two nights, the Twins won for the ninth time in 12 games thanks to a bunch of walks and bouncers -- plus excellent defense and plain old good luck.

"They compete as a team. They get you as a team, and that's why they win," said Guillen, who alternated between blaming himself and criticizing his players throughout his postgame remarks.

Guillen has long been impressed by the Twins, who sped by the slumping White Sox last summer on the way to their fourth division title in the last five years. But he pinned most of the afternoon's performance on the visiting team.

"Offense, defense, pitching, manager, coaches, we all stink," Guillen said.

Facing Mike MacDougal (1-2) in the ninth, Jason Tyner drew a one-out walk and moved to second when Nick Punto hit a chopper to Paul Konerko for a possible double play. Konerko's throw grazed Tyner before hitting shortstop Alex Cintron in the right knee for an error on the first baseman.

"It was just a bad throw, not really a fluke," Konerko said. "I've made that play a million times."

Cintron fielded Michael Cuddyer's grounder deep in the hole, but his throw to second was not in time to force Punto. Boone Logan retired Justin Morneau, but David Aardsma was summoned to face Hunter and walked the free-swinging slugger on four pitches to end the game.

"I thought it was pathetic," Aardsma said.

Hunter, who finished with three RBI and leads the team with 45, wanted to swing the bat, of course. He lobbied for the green light when the count went to 3-0.

"I saw the ump say, 'You need to come touch first base,' and I was like, 'Oh, OK,"' Hunter said. "I didn't know what to do. It was weird, man. That was something totally different. But I like it. We won."

Chicago gave up 47 hits over the previous three games. While Garland allowed just five in six innings, the right-hander walked five and struck out only two.

He took that 6-1 lead into the bottom of the third and walked the leadoff batter, Jason Bartlett. Punto and Cuddyer walked, too, loading the bases with one out and bringing a frustrated pitching coach, Don Cooper, out of the dugout.

Morneau hit a sacrifice fly, and Hunter followed with a two-run double on the first pitch he saw to cut the lead to two. In the sixth, Garland gave up an RBI groundout to Jeff Cirillo and an run-scoring single to Chris Heintz that tied the game at 6.

Heintz's hit took Scott Baker off the hook. After a stellar debut for Minnesota 11 days earlier when he replaced Sidney Ponson in the rotation, Baker has regressed in his last two starts.

Some of his breaking balls missed the plate by a few feet and he gave up six runs and 10 hits in only three innings -- including Rob Mackowiak's two-run homer.

Manager Ron Gardenhire, however, was most disappointed by Baker's failure to cover first base when Morneau made a diving stop of Cintron's grounder in the second.

"Those are things that you can't get away with at this level when you're trying to win ballgames," Gardenhire said.

The Twins got away with it, though, by doing just about everything else right. Jason Miller, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan (2-1) teamed up to throw six hitless innings in relief, and Jason Kubel's jumping catch against the left-field wall to take a homer away from Tadahito Iguchi in the top of the ninth highlighted a series of standout defensive plays in the late innings.

"Guys start getting confident, and that's what happens," Gardenhire said.

Notes

  • Of Minnesota's 26 runs in this series, 18 came with two outs.
  • This was the final game as Minnesota's official scorer for Tom Mee, the first employee hired by the organization when the franchise moved from Washington before the 1961 season. Mee worked in public relations and became official scorer in 1991.
 
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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Torii Hunter, who has three RBI, walks with the bases loaded in the ninth, forcing in the winning run.  (AP)
Torii Hunter, who has three RBI, walks with the bases loaded in the ninth, forcing in the winning run. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

T. Hunter
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Chicago

R. Mackowiak
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Chicago White Sox
Darin Erstad, CF5000012 .268
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B4112100 .221
Jim Thome, DH3010110 .312
Jermaine Dye, RF3011121 .239
Paul Konerko, 1B4110013 .227
Rob Mackowiak, LF4222010 .236
Joe Crede, 3B4121001 .232
Alex Cintron, SS4120000 .224
Toby Hall, C3000003 .182
   a- A.J. Pierzynski, PH-C1000000 .253
Totals35610636  
a-grounded out for Hall in the 9th
Batting
2B - Joe Crede (4, Baker)
HR - Rob Mackowiak (2, Baker)
RBI - Tadahito Iguchi 2 (11), Jermaine Dye (28), Rob Mackowiak 2 (12), Joe Crede (21)
2-OUT RBI - Tadahito Iguchi 2 (7), Rob Mackowiak 2 (6)
SB - Jermaine Dye (1, 2nd base off Miller/Heintz)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Cintron-Iguchi-Konerko
E - Paul Konerko (2, Throwing)
Chicago White Sox
Jon Garland 6566520 3.91
Matt Thornton 2100120 3.38
Mike MacDougal (L,1-2) 0.1110110 6.75
Boone Logan 0.1000000 3.52
David Aardsma0000100 4.73
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Garland 103-64, Matt Thornton 26-16, Mike MacDougal 19-11, Boone Logan 1-1, David Aardsma 4-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Garland 10-5, Matt Thornton 3-1, Mike MacDougal 1-0
Batters Faced - Jon Garland 27, Matt Thornton 8, Mike MacDougal 4, Boone Logan 1, David Aardsma 1
Minnesota Twins
Jason Tyner, DH4100100 .264
Nick Punto, 2B2100310 .237
Michael Cuddyer, RF4120101 .302
Justin Morneau, 1B3211104 .294
Torii Hunter, CF4123112 .318
Jason Kubel, LF3000022 .238
Jeff Cirillo, 3B4012000 .226
Chris Heintz, C4011001 .211
Jason Bartlett, SS3100111 .241
Totals3177785  
Batting
2B - Torii Hunter (17, Garland)
SF - Justin Morneau (3)
SH - Jason Kubel (1)
RBI - Justin Morneau (44), Torii Hunter 3 (45), Jeff Cirillo 2 (8), Chris Heintz (3)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter 3 (23), Jeff Cirillo (3), Chris Heintz (3)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Michael Cuddyer 1
DP - Cirillo-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker 31066131 5.94
Jason Miller 1.2000110 0.00
Matt Guerrier 2.1000120 1.91
Pat Neshek 1000000 1.40
Joe Nathan (W,2-1) 1000000 1.85
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 63-42, Jason Miller 26-16, Matt Guerrier 29-17, Pat Neshek 9-6, Joe Nathan 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 3-1, Jason Miller 2-2, Matt Guerrier 4-1, Pat Neshek 2-1, Joe Nathan 2-1
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 18, Jason Miller 6, Matt Guerrier 8, Pat Neshek 3, Joe Nathan 3
Game Information
Attendance - 29042
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Charlie Reliford, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Tony Randazzo