Series: Game 1 of 3

Chi White Sox leads 1-0 (as of 6/29)

Game 1: Tuesday, June 29
Chi White Sox6Final
Game 2: Wednesday, June 30
Chi White Sox9Final
Game 3: Thursday, July 1
Chi White Sox2Final

White Sox 6

(40-33, 16-18 away)

Twins 2

(41-34, 22-17 home)

    8:10 PM ET, June 29, 2004

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    CWS 100101201 6 11 0
    MIN 000101000 2 9 0

    W: M. Buehrle (8-2)

    L: C. Silva (8-5)

    Buehrle gets win against Twins

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Mark Buehrle opened an important series for the Chicago White Sox by quickly disposing of the Minnesota Twins.

    And he had to work fast, because his arm felt as if it was on fire.

    Buehrle pitched eight sharp innings in a 6-2 victory Tuesday night, leading the White Sox past the Twins into first place in the AL Central.

    He threw 108 pitches, 72 for strikes, in a game that lasted only 2 hours, 4 minutes. Buehrle normally uses an ointment to loosen up his shoulder before a start, but a team trainer talked him into trying a new one that proved to be more potent than he expected.

    "It felt like I had second-degree burns on my arm," Buehrle said. "I've used some hot stuff before, but not this hot."

    Whatever works.

    Bouncing back from two bad starts that bloated his ERA by nearly a run, Buehrle (8-2) gave up eight hits and two runs while improving to 13-4 against the Twins in 18 career starts. That's his most wins against any opponent.

    "Today was probably the best I've felt as long as I can remember," Buehrle said. "After the first couple innings, I didn't think I'd give up a hit."

    Jose Valentin hit a solo home run and Juan Uribe added a two-run shot for the White Sox (40-33), who have won four of five and moved one percentage point ahead of Minnesota (41-34) into first in the Central.

    Corey Koskie homered for the Twins, who lost their third straight and swung at several first pitches from Buehrle -- grounding out 14 times against the left-hander.

    "He tried to play with the count," Minnesota's Luis Rivas said. "He doesn't give you a pitch to hit."

    By running his fastball inside against right-handers, Buehrle effectively set up his changeup and sinker on the outside of the plate.

    "He's a very smart pitcher," Twins center fielder Torii Hunter said.

    Buehrle, who struck out six without a walk, fanned three of the first six batters to reach 500 strikeouts for his career. He lowered his ERA from 4.49 to 4.33.

    After acquiring Freddy Garcia from Seattle on Sunday, Chicago is brimming with confidence.

    "We can't let down," Buehrle said. "We've got two more to go, and we hope to get a sweep if not win the series."

    Shingo Takatsu pitched the ninth, extending his scoreless streak to 26 1/3 innings, the 10th longest in team history.

    Minnesota starter Carlos Silva (8-5) went a career-high 8 2/3 innings, but he lost to Chicago for the third time this year. He gave up 11 hits and six runs while striking out two and walking none.

    After Timo Perez's RBI double with two outs in the ninth, Grant Balfour relieved.

    "I was throwing the ball wherever I want to throw it," Silva said. "They beat me. I don't know. It's hard sometimes."

    Buehrle and Silva matched up twice in May, with the White Sox winning those games 11-0 and 8-2. The crowd of 24,704 went home disappointed with this one, too, though the Twins kept it much closer. Chicago won four of the previous five meetings by a combined 47-21 score.

    Valentin made it 2-0 in the fourth with a homer to left that Lew Ford nearly caught with a leap over the wall. Koskie answered that with a two-out shot into the folded football seats above right field in the bottom of the inning.

    Frank Thomas doubled to start the sixth and came home on a two-out single by Paul Konerko that put the White Sox up 3-1. The Twins cut the lead again in their half of the inning when Hunter drove in Ford with a two-out single.

    Carlos Lee's two-out double scored Uribe from first base to give the White Sox an early lead. The inning would've been over if second baseman Rivas had caught a soft liner that nicked off his glove and into right field for a single by leadoff man Perez.

    Rivas made up for it in the third inning, though, when he made a diving stop of a grounder up the middle and threw Thomas out to keep Jamie Burke from scoring.

    Game notes

    Koskie, with a .304 average in 46 at-bats, is one of the few Twins who have hit Buehrle well. ... Silva gave up 12 runs in seven innings over his first two starts against the Sox. ... Minnesota 1B Doug Mientkiewicz had three hits in his last 32 at-bats without an RBI. ... There were no walks in the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press