Minnesota at Chicago

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Minnesota (88-58) «0300300028121
Chi. White Sox (79-67)001103000591

Pavano wins 17th, Twins 1/2-game back for best record

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Dominant since the All-Star break and running away with the AL Central title, the Minnesota Twins can breathe a little easier.

They'll wait to uncork the champagne, though.

"Cart before the horse," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're not going to mess with that."

Delmon Young hit his 18th homer, Carl Pavano got his 17th win and the Twins beat the fading Chicago White Sox 8-5 to complete the three-game sweep Thursday night.

Postseason Chase

Paul Konerko hit a solo shot in the third against Pavano (17-11) after being drilled in the face by a pitch in the first inning that left him with a swollen lip. A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez also went deep, but the Twins walked away with their 11th win in 12 games.

They went 13-5 against the White Sox this season and lead them by nine in the AL Central with 16 games to play as they try to lock down their sixth division title in 10 years. Their magic number is eight. They're a major league-leading 42-16 since the All-Star break and are challenging Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees for the best record.

"We're capable of that. We knew we were and the funny part of it is -- I don't know if you guys remember the stretch going into the All-Star break," Pavano said, referring to a 3-7 run that left them 3½ games off the lead. "That was the flip side of consistency."

This looked like it would be an easy win for the Twins after Young capped a three-run fifth with a two-run homer off Mark Buehrle (12-11) that made it 6-2.

Instead, the White Sox answered by sending up nine batters while scoring three in the sixth and chasing Pavano. Even so, they walked away with their seventh loss in nine games.

"I think everybody knew we had to sweep them and not get swept," Buehrle said. "Obviously they came in and kicked our butt every which way."

Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez started the sixth with back-to-back homers, only the third time the White Sox have done that this season, and Brent Morel followed with a double to the right-field corner.

Jose Mijares came in for Pavano and Morel got caught in a rundown on a grounder to the left side by Juan Pierre, who reached second on the play and then stole third. Omar Vizquel walked, putting runners on the corners, before Alex Rios drove in Pierre with a force against Matt Guerrier that made it 6-5.

Konerko then walked with the crowd chanting "Paulie! Paulie!" So did Manny Ramirez to load the bases before Carlos Quentin ended the inning with a fly to center.

The White Sox had runners on first and second in the seventh after Brian Fuentes hit Juan Pierre, leading to an animated discussion between manager Ozzie Guillen and plate umpire Jerry Crawford. Both teams had been warned after Buehrle hit Michael Cuddyer with the first pitch of the second inning, but there were no ejections.

It was a rough night for both starters with Buehrle giving up six runs and eight hits in five innings. He has not won since beating Minnesota on Aug. 19.

Pavano wasn't much better but moved within one win of the career high he set with Florida in 2004, even though he gave up eight hits and five runs in five-plus innings.

There was a big scare in the first when with a runner on and two out, he nailed Konerko with a pitche between the lip and nose.

The White Sox slugger was tended to for several minutes by trainer Herm Schneider before trotting to first as fans shouted "Paulie! Paulie!" Ramirez walked to load the bases before Carlos Quentin popped out to end the inning.

"We all felt terrible about it," Gardenhire said. "They did what they had to do."

Buehrle responded by plunking Cuddyer in the left shoulder, and the Twins wound up scoring three in the second.

"When I'm told to do something I try to go out there and do it to the best of my ability," Buehrle said. "Obviously you got to protect your guys."

Notes

  • The White Sox held 2B Gordon Beckham out of the lineup because of a lingering hand problem, and Guillen said they'll likely shut him down for a few games. With Beckham out, Omar Vizquel started at second and Brent Morel at third.
  • The Twins decided to go with Joe Mauer behind the plate rather than Drew Butera, who had caught 12 straight starts by Pavano.
  • OF Jason Kubel was out of the lineup after he left Wednesday's game because of soreness in his left wrist.
 
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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Must be the 'stache: Carl Pavano earns his 17th win of the season, one shy of his career high set in '04 with Florida.  (AP)
Must be the 'stache: Carl Pavano earns his 17th win of the season, one shy of his career high set in '04 with Florida. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

P. Konerko
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Minnesota

D. Young
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF4100113 .265
Orlando Hudson, 2B5120010 .276
Joe Mauer, C5220000 .331
Michael Cuddyer, 1B3112011 .272
Delmon Young, LF5232013 .300
Jim Thome, DH3011211 .283
    Trevor Plouffe, PR-DH0000000 .125
Danny Valencia, 3B3010102 .333
    Matt Tolbert, PR-3B0001000 .239
Jason Repko, RF4111103 .206
J.J. Hardy, SS4011004 .272
Totals36812855  
Batting
2B - Joe Mauer (42, Linebrink), J.J. Hardy (19, Buehrle)
HR - Delmon Young (18, Buehrle)
SF - Michael Cuddyer (4), Matt Tolbert (3)
RBI - Michael Cuddyer 2 (74), Delmon Young 2 (102), Jim Thome (57), Matt Tolbert (17), Jason Repko (8), J.J. Hardy (38)
2-OUT RBI - Delmon Young 2 (44), Jason Repko (4), J.J. Hardy (15)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Danny Valencia (4, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Carl Pavano (W,17-11) 5855213 3.60
Jose Mijares (H,9) 0.1000100 2.67
Matt Guerrier (H,23) 0.2000200 3.52
Jesse Crain (H,20) 0.2000110 2.56
Brian Fuentes (H,1) 1.1000100 3.21
Matt Capps (S,39) 1100010 2.65
HBP - Konerko (by Carl Pavano), Pierre (by Brian Fuentes)
Pitches-Strikes - Carl Pavano 95-60, Jose Mijares 10-5, Matt Guerrier 15-6, Jesse Crain 14-7, Brian Fuentes 23-13, Matt Capps 13-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carl Pavano 8-7, Jose Mijares 1-0, Matt Guerrier 1-1, Jesse Crain 1-0, Brian Fuentes 1-3, Matt Capps 1-1
Batters Faced - Carl Pavano 27, Jose Mijares 2, Matt Guerrier 4, Jesse Crain 3, Brian Fuentes 6, Matt Capps 4
Chicago White Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Juan Pierre, LF5111003 .274
Omar Vizquel, 2B-3B4010103 .283
Alex Rios, CF5001001 .286
    Alejandro De Aza, CF0000000 .000
Paul Konerko, 1B3111100 .323
Manny Ramirez, DH2010301 .308
    Gordon Beckham, PR-DH0000000 .252
Carlos Quentin, RF5000019 .236
A.J. Pierzynski, C5121000 .271
Alexei Ramirez, SS4221111 .282
Brent Morel, 3B2010101 .222
   a- Mark Teahen, PH1000011 .259
    Brent Lillibridge, 2B0000000 .274
   b- Mark Kotsay, PH1000001 .235
Totals3759573  
a-struck out for Morel in the 7th
b-flied out for Lillibridge in the 9th
Batting
2B - Brent Morel (1, Pavano)
HR - Paul Konerko (37, Pavano), A.J. Pierzynski (8, Pavano), Alexei Ramirez (17, Pavano)
RBI - Juan Pierre (40), Alex Rios (84), Paul Konerko (105), A.J. Pierzynski (53), Alexei Ramirez (63)
2-OUT RBI - Juan Pierre (17), Paul Konerko (46)
SB - Juan Pierre 2 (58, 2nd base off Pavano/Mauer, 3rd base off Mijares/Mauer), Alexei Ramirez 2 (12, 2nd base off Pavano/Mauer, 2nd base off Crain/Mauer)
Team LOB - 14
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alex Rios 1
DP - Morel-Vizquel-Konerko, Rios-Pierzynski-Morel
E - Paul Konerko (6, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago White Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mark Buehrle (L,12-11) 5866211 4.16
Scott Linebrink 2100020 4.08
Matt Thornton 1000210 3.14
J.J. Putz 1322110 3.02
IBB - Thome by J.J. Putz
HBP - Cuddyer (by Mark Buehrle)
WP - J.J. Putz (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 99-66, Scott Linebrink 23-15, Matt Thornton 26-12, J.J. Putz 21-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 8-5, Scott Linebrink 2-2, Matt Thornton 1-1
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 25, Scott Linebrink 7, Matt Thornton 5, J.J. Putz 7
Game Information
Attendance - 27180
Game Time - 3:25
Temperature - 57
Umpires - Home - Jerry Crawford, First Base - Phil Cuzzi, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Chris Guccione