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Loaiza wins fifth straight start for White Sox

4/27/2003

CHICAGO (AP) -- Manager Jerry Manuel got kicked out in the
opening minutes. Burly Brian Daubach, of all people, stole home.
And surprising Esteban Loaiza improved to 5-0.

All part of the White Sox's quick 3-1 victory over the Minnesota
Twins on Sunday as Chicago took two of three in the emotional first
series between the two rivals.

Loaiza, who had to pitch his way onto the team in spring
training as a non-roster invitee, became the first White Sox
pitcher since Wilson Alvarez in 1994 to win five games in April.

"I'm locked in on everything and I'm throwing strikes, I'm
pitching the way I want to pitch,'' Loaiza said after lowering his
ERA to 1.25.

The veteran right-hander allowed a run and six hits in seven
strong innings, throwing strikes and not wasting time. The game
took just two hours to play.

"I pitch quickly. I know where I'm going, and after I throw one
pitch, I know what I want to throw on the next one,'' Loaiza said.

Loaiza (5-0), who entered as the toughest pitcher in the majors
to hit (a .131 average against), struck out eight and walked none.

"We are not hitting against anybody, so everybody looks pretty
good right now,'' Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Loaiza
has been very good and he was again today. We have seen too much of
that.''

Manuel was ejected in the first inning Sunday for arguing a call
at first base. On Saturday night, three players were tossed,
including White Sox starter Jon Garland, as the benches emptied.

After six batters were hit by pitches in the first two games --
the final one leading to Garland's ejection -- none were plunked Sunday.

Manuel said he wasn't trying to stir up his team or necessarily
make a statement about the night before.

He was thumbed after Cristian Guzman hit a slow roller to the
right of the mound and Loaiza picked it up and raced to the bag to
tag the Twins' No. 2 hitter.

First base umpire Doug Eddings ruled Guzman safe and Manuel
sprinted out to argue and was quickly ejected. TV replays showed
that Loaiza tagged Guzman before he hit the bag.

"I never like to get tossed. I like being in the game,'' Manuel
said. "I'm a proponent of being ready on the first play and I like
everybody to be ready. I saw the play pretty clearly.''

Twins starter Rick Reed (1-4) was also tough, giving up just
three hits and three runs in seven innings. He retired 17 of the
final 19 batters he faced.

"I'm getting tired of saying it's early. This has got to get
better or its going to be a long summer,'' Reed said. "Right now
we are not clicking.''

Jose Valentin homered in the first and Chicago pushed across a
run in the second without a hit when Daubach stole home to make it
2-0.

Daubach walked and went to third when shortstop Guzman missed
Carlos Lee's grounder for an error. As Tony Graffanino struck out,
Lee broke for second, Daubach waited and then raced home as Twins
second baseman Chris Gomez missed catcher A.J. Pierzynski's throw
to second.

It was just the fifth steal of Daubach's major league career and
he did it on the instruction of third base coach Bruce Kimm.

"He told me Carlos is going to take off, so I should cheat as
much as I can,'' Daubach said.

The last time he stole home? "Maybe in T-ball. Obviously I've
only had a few steals.''

Pierzynski had an RBI single after Torii Hunter's double to cut
Chicago's lead to 2-1 in the fourth. But Magglio Ordonez doubled,
moved up on Daubach's grounder and scored when Lee reached out and
poked an RBI single to center in the bottom of the inning.

Game notes
Minnesota's Doug Mientkiewicz, booed heavily and twice hit
by pitches in the first two games, was given the day off.
Mientkiewicz has suggested that Chicago lose its role as All-Star
game host after a fan ran on the field earlier this month and
attacked an umpire ... Daubach started for Paul Konerko at first
for a second straight game. His steal of home was Chicago's first
since Ray Durham pulled it off on July 19, 1996, against Kansas
City. ... Manuel's ejection was the eight of his career. ... Reed
is now 1-5 lifetime against the White Sox. ... Damaso Marte pitched
two scoreless innings for his first save.