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Chicago at Minnesota

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Chi. White Sox (50-40)100100000270
Minnesota (48-43) «03000000x390

Pavano works fourth complete game to lead Twins over White Sox

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Carl Pavano didn't even need to plead his case to stay in the game. His performance was argument enough.

Minnesota's go-to pitcher stranded the tying run at third base with one out in the ninth, punctuating his fourth complete game of the season with five straight strikes that finished off the middle of Chicago's lineup.

Pavano picked up right where he left off before the All-Star break, striking out six while going the distance for the Twins in a tense 3-2 win over the White Sox on Saturday.

"That was his ballgame," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We knew it."

With his pitch count at just 95 entering the final frame, Pavano (11-6) -- who threw 79 of 104 offerings for strikes -- got a rousing ovation from the sellout crowd at Target Field when he returned to the mound for the ninth inning.

"I didn't think there was going to be any talking," Pavano said.

While the rest of Minnesota's starters struggled often in the first half, Pavano and his mustache helped keep the Twins afloat. The ninth was a masterpiece in itself, after Omar Vizquel started the inning with a double that rolled right down the third-base line.

Alex Rios moved him up with a groundout. Then Paul Konerko, who hit an RBI single in the first and smacked his 21st homer in the fourth, struck out on three pitches. Pavano pumped his fist, and the fans went wild.

Carlos Quentin grounded out to end the duel between Pavano and Mark Buehrle (8-8) in an astonishing 1 hour, 52 minutes -- the third-fastest nine-inning game in the majors this season, according to STATS LLC.

Buehrle is a fast worker himself, and Pavano fed off the pace set by his counterpart. On a muggy night, Pavano returned to the clubhouse after each inning to change sweaty shirts and do some stretching.

"Came out in the dugout, and it's like four pitches and he's got two outs," Pavano said. "Luckily I felt good."

Buehrle went the distance himself, for the first time this year.

Delmon Young, who has a team-most 60 RBI, sparked a three-run second inning against Buehrle with a run-scoring single. Jason Kubel's triple and rookie Danny Valencia's double just missed clearing the wall.

"I put two balls in play that found a hole, and then they just crushed two balls," Buehrle said. "You get down three runs real quick. Down too many runs early, it's tough to come back."

Particularly with Pavano in such a rhythm. Vizquel's comebacker in the sixth stung him near the wrist on his non-pitching arm, but the right-hander quickly motioned for Gardenhire and the training staff to stay in the dugout and keep from slowing the game down.

"Had a couple good swings off him, but in that last at-bat he just beat me," Konerko said. "I wouldn't do anything differently. He just beat me."

The third-place Twins crept within 2½ games of the White Sox in the three-team, always-tight AL Central race. Catcher Drew Butera gave Pavano a hard embrace after Quentin was retired in the ninth.

"What better way to show some love than a little mustache hug," said Butera, who's growing some fuzz above his upper lip in honor of Pavano.

Postcard-like lightning flashed in the sky while heavy rain fell in the afternoon, canceling batting practice, but Pavano and Buehrle worked so efficiently and effectively through the evening that they got the whole game in before the next storm wave reached downtown.

Pavano retired 11 in a row at one point, and Buehrle had a 14-of-15 stretch.

Buehrle was a big part of Chicago's pre-break surge, going 5-1 in his previous six starts while allowing just 10 runs over 40 1/3 innings. He helped himself with two deft pick-off moves, catching Denard Span after a leadoff single in the first and Young following a single to start the fourth.

Pavano had plenty of defensive assistance, too, including rookie Butera's strong throw to cut down Juan Pierre attempting to steal second with two out in the eighth.

Notes

  • Twins reliever Clay Condrey, who hasn't pitched all season because of a bad right elbow, likely will have surgery.
  • Buehrle leads the majors with 72 pick-offs since 2001.
  • Chicago also was involved in the second-fastest nine-inning game of the season, John Danks' 1-0 victory over Ervin Santana and the Los Angeles Angels in 1 hour, 50 minutes on July 8. The speediest game of the year is Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game when the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians in 1:44 on June 2.
 
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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Carl Pavano goes the distance, throwing 104 pitches, giving up seven hits and striking out six. (AP)
Carl Pavano goes the distance, throwing 104 pitches, giving up seven hits and striking out six. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

D. Young
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Chicago

P. Konerko
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Chicago White Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Juan Pierre, LF4010001 .263
Omar Vizquel, 3B4010011 .260
    Brent Lillibridge, PR0000000 .423
Alex Rios, CF4110011 .303
Paul Konerko, 1B4122021 .299
Carlos Quentin, RF4000011 .239
Mark Kotsay, DH3010010 .236
A.J. Pierzynski, C3000001 .242
Alexei Ramirez, SS3000000 .274
Gordon Beckham, 2B3010000 .226
Totals3227206  
Batting
2B - Omar Vizquel (6, Pavano), Alex Rios (20, Pavano)
HR - Paul Konerko (21, Pavano)
RBI - Paul Konerko 2 (66)
2-OUT RBI - Paul Konerko (30)
SB - Juan Pierre (33, 2nd base off Pavano/Butera)
CS - Juan Pierre (12, 2nd base by Pavano/Butera)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Buehrle-A. Ramirez-Konerko
Chicago White Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mark Buehrle (L,8-8) 8933030 4.18
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 95-63
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 10-8
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 30
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF4010001 .274
Orlando Hudson, 2B4010001 .283
Joe Mauer, DH4010001 .299
Michael Cuddyer, 1B3120001 .269
Delmon Young, LF3121001 .307
Jason Kubel, RF3111010 .263
Danny Valencia, 3B3011010 .323
    Nick Punto, 3B0000000 .244
J.J. Hardy, SS3000011 .241
Drew Butera, C3000001 .148
Totals3039303  
Batting
2B - Michael Cuddyer (21, Buehrle), Danny Valencia (3, Buehrle)
3B - Jason Kubel (2, Buehrle)
RBI - Delmon Young (60), Jason Kubel (50), Danny Valencia (4)
PK - Denard Span (5, Buehrle), Delmon Young (1, Buehrle)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jason Kubel 1
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Carl Pavano (W,11-6) 9722061 3.48
Pitches-Strikes - Carl Pavano 103-79
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carl Pavano 14-5
Batters Faced - Carl Pavano 32
Game Information
Attendance - 40637
Game Time - 1:52
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Jerry Meals