Series: Game 2 of 3

Minnesota leads 2-0 (as of 9/15)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 14
Chi White Sox2Final
Game 2: Wednesday, September 15
Chi White Sox1Final
Game 3: Thursday, September 16
Chi White Sox1Final

White Sox 1

(72-72, 33-40 away)

Twins 6

(85-60, 45-29 home)

    8:10 PM ET, September 15, 2004

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

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    W: C. Silva (12-8)

    L: M. Buehrle (14-9)

    Twins' magic number at 12

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins appear to have found a third quality starter, just in time for the postseason.

    Carlos Silva pitched one-hit ball into the sixth inning Wednesday night before leaving with a bruised right ankle, and the Twins won their eighth in a row with a 6-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

    Minnesota reduced its magic number to six for clinching the division. The AL Central leader has a 12½-game cushion over second-place Chicago with 17 games left.

    Silva (12-8) allowed just one hit through five innings and was tossing his best game of the season when Joe Crede led off the sixth with a hard grounder back to the mound.

    The ball caromed off the side of Silva's right leg as he followed through. Silva made a quick recovery, beating Crede to first base to take Justin Morneau's flip after the ball bounced into foul territory.

    Twins coaches and trainer Jim Kahmann came to the mound and Silva was taken out after some discussion. The pitcher walked off the field without any notice of a limp and was diagnosed with the bruise. He is listed as day-to-day.

    "No pitcher wants to come out of the game when you're pitching that way," Silva said. "It's just a little bruise, but I feel like I'll be OK."

    The Twins also played without manager Ron Gardenhire, who left the Metrodome before the game because of flulike symptoms. Hitting coach Scott Ullger assumed managerial duties.

    Mark Buehrle (14-9) gave up six hits and five runs, two earned, in seven innings. He lost to Silva for the first time in four head-to-head meetings between the pitchers this year. Chicago dropped its fifth game in a row to the Twins, dating back to July 1.

    Silva, who had been 0-3 with an 8.06 ERA against Chicago this year, pitched brilliantly before leaving. Opposing hitters had been hitting .315 off Silva this year, but he allowed just Timo Perez's bunt single and two walks. Only one ball left the infield.

    "He's made the most improvement of any pitcher on our staff," said Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson. "His ball was sinking and he got ground balls. That's how he wins."

    It couldn't come at a better time for the Twins, who have struggled to find consistent starting pitching behind Cy Young Award candidate Johan Santana and steady veteran Brad Radke.

    "He's got 12 wins," Anderson said. "That's a pretty good year."

    For the third straight year, the White Sox find themselves in second place staring up at Minnesota, in part because they couldn't beat the Twins when it mattered.

    In 2003, they lost five straight September games to the Twins to fall out of first place. This year they lost three straight to Minnesota in late July to drop 3½ games out and haven't gotten any closer since.

    Defense let them down Wednesday. Buehrle held the Twins hitless through 3 2-3 innings, but two errors by third baseman Crede opened the gates for three runs in the fourth inning.

    With two outs and the bases empty, Crede threw wildly after charging Morneau's weak ground ball. Matthew LeCroy followed with the Twins' first hit, and Cristian Guzman and Michael Cuddyer hit RBI singles.

    Crede then fielded Augie Ojeda's high chopper in the hole, but his throw was even worse than the previous one, skipping past first base and off the top of the White Sox dugout, allowing Guzman to score.

    "You can kind of tell we're out of the playoffs," Buehrle said. "But guys still want to win. I don't want to go out and lose the rest of my starts."

    Torii Hunter and Morneau hit RBI doubles in the fifth, and Cuddyer added an RBI single in the eighth.

    Crede drove in Chicago's only run with an infield single off reliever J.C. Romero in the eighth.

    Game notes

    The White Sox didn't hit a ball out of the infield until Jose Valentin flied to center for the second out of the fifth inning. ... Buehrle is 13-6 lifetime against Minnesota. ... Twins reliever Jesse Crain, who came in for Silva, increased his scoreless innings streak to 15 2-3 innings.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press