<
>

Twins have lost last four series

6/26/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Mark Buehrle took another step toward getting
his season back on track, and the Chicago White Sox did the same.

Buehrle won his third straight start with a five-hitter to lead
the White Sox to a quick 5-1 victory over the struggling Minnesota
Twins on Thursday.

Keeping the Twins from creating any momentum off their
11th-inning comeback win the night before, the White Sox got an
early lead for Buehrle and -- after a game that lasted just 2 hours,
6 minutes -- left with a smile and their first series victory at the
Metrodome since Sept. 2000.

"We'd have loved to get a sweep, but two out of three is
great," first baseman Frank Thomas said. "It really is."

Jose Valentin went 2-for-4 with two RBI, and D'Angelo Jimenez
and Aaron Rowand each drove in runs for Chicago, which won for the
eighth time in 13 games behind Buehrle's best outing this year.

"Against a good offensive club, he hit his spots, changed
speeds and kept the ball down," Sox manager Jerry Manuel said.
"He was outstanding. We've always seen quality, but this time
there was dominance."

Buehrle (5-10) struck out a career-high nine and walked two,
losing his shutout on Corey Koskie's RBI double in the ninth
inning.

"The way we're going now -- winning three in a row -- sure, it
feels good," Buehrle said. "It always feels different when you're
winning."

The Twins, losers of four straight series and nine of their last
13 home games, seem to have lost that feel -- putting manager Ron
Gardenhire on edge.

"We thought we'd come out with a little more fire," Gardenhire
said. "I know Buehrle pitched very well, but it was disappointing
the way we went after the game like that. I didn't think we had
much out there. Guys were lobbing balls between innings.

"It's pretty frustrating to watch."

Denny Hocking, who singled in the ninth and scored on Koskie's
double that missed landing in the seats by inches, was taken aback
by his manager's comment.

"If he doesn't think we came to play, he ought to look at the
tape and see how Mark Buehrle was pitching," Hocking said.

Buehrle, who won 35 games over the past two years, gave up a
career-high 10 runs against the Twins at the Metrodome in an 18-3
loss. He bottomed out June 11 at home against San Francisco after
allowing eight runs in 4 1-3 innings.

Since then, he's helped pitch the White Sox back into the AL
Central race behind Kansas City and Minnesota.

"Our gameplan offensively was the opposite of the way he
pitched," said Dustan Mohr, who had one of the three hits that
left the infield. "He really didn't throw as hard as he normally
does. He changed speeds really well."

For the second straight start, Brad Radke (5-7) turned in a
pretty good performance without getting a win -- allowing four
earned runs and seven hits in eight innings.

Sandy Alomar singled up the middle with two outs in the third,
and Jimenez hit a long fly to left-center that Jacque Jones and
Hunter converged on but couldn't get to. Hunter unsuccessfully
tried to make a backhanded stop, and the ball trickled far enough
away to allow Alomar to score on the double.

Rowand followed with a sharp single to right that drove in
Jimenez and made it 2-0.

With two outs and two on in the sixth, Valentin doubled home two
runs and then scored on an error by Luis Rivas, giving the Sox a
5-0 lead.

An accurate relay throw could've easily got Brian Daubach at the
plate and kept Chicago's lead at three, but it was high and up the
line and skipped past catcher Matthew LeCroy to allow Valentin to
score.

The miscue by his second baseman really had Gardenhire steamed.

"Good God, that guy is out by 10 yards," said Gardenhire, who
with third-base coach Al Newman has had to get on Rivas about his
concentration in the field this year. "You could have turned and
just lobbed the ball to the guy. We throw it down the line and into
the dugout. That's not ready to play."

Game notes
The Twins are 10-13 this month. They haven't had a losing
record in June since 2000. ... Chicago, after starting the season
9-21 on the road, has won seven of 10 away from home. ... Twins SS
Cristian Guzman, who has some swelling -- but not pain -- in his
knee, was given a rest. ... Paul Konerko subbed for Thomas at first
base and went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .188.