Series: Game 3 of 3

Minnesota won 3-0

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

(72-73, 33-41 away)

Twins 10

(86-60, 46-29 home)

    8:10 PM ET, September 16, 2004

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    CWS 000100000 1 - -
    MIN 01400005 - 10 - -

    W: K. Lohse (8-11)

    L: J. Garland (10-11)

    Lohse: four hits, one run through seven

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kyle Lohse is making the most of his last chance to salvage his season.

    Lohse pitched seven sharp innings, Michael Cuddyer went 3-for-4 with a homer and the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 10-1 Thursday night for their ninth straight victory.

    The streaking Twins are quickly closing in on their third consecutive AL Central title. They reduced their magic number for clinching the division to four.

    Lohse (8-11) once appeared to be the odd man out in the Twins' postseason rotation, but he's finishing strong with a 3-1 record in his last six starts. On Thursday, he gave up one run, four hits and one walk, lasting seven innings for only the third time since the All-Star break.

    "I've just been putting things together, and today I felt like I had a pretty good fastball and slider," Lohse said. "That's my style. It's just been one of those years, where one start I'll have it, and the next I won't. Hopefully, I can put together a strong finish and people can forget about the rest of the year."

    Lohse, competing with Carlos Silva for the third spot in the rotation behind Johan Santana and Brad Radke, had three 1-2-3 innings and got help from his defense throughout the game. Catcher Pat Borders threw out Willie Harris on a pitchout in the first after Harris led off with a single, and second baseman Augie Ojeda turned a nice double play to end the inning.

    Cuddyer then helped Lohse when he started a double play in the sixth inning, diving to his right to grab Carlos Lee's liner to third, then firing across the diamond to nip Aaron Rowand at first base.

    "I've probably seen him more unhittable, as far as making guys swing and miss more," Chicago's Paul Konerko said. "But he made guys put the ball in play and he got some nice defense behind him. That was a solid start right there."

    The Twins, who outscored the White Sox 26-4 in the three-game sweep, got on the board first when Borders hit a two-out RBI single in the second.

    Minnesota broke the game open with a four-run third. Jose Offerman drove in one run with a groundout, Cristian Guzman hit an RBI double, and Cuddyer followed with his 10th home run, a two-run shot to left.

    "We've got tunnel vision right now," Cuddyer said. "We've got one thing on our minds right now, and that's winning games. Our pitching and defense have carried us all year, and now we're starting to swing the bats and score some runs. It's starting to click."

    The White Sox scored their run in the fourth on Ross Gload's sacrifice fly, but their offense struggled all series, batting just .150 (15-for-90) with no extra-base hits.

    "Two hits in an inning for us is looking mighty good," Konerko said. "It seems like I can't remember the last time we put a couple of hits together."

    The Twins sealed the win with a five-run eighth inning, getting RBI doubles from Ojeda and Borders and a three-run double by Justin Morneau.

    White Sox starter Jon Garland (10-11) gave up five runs on nine hits and three walks. Garland is 1-4 with a 5.61 ERA in his last nine road starts.

    "We gave up unearned runs and we didn't hit," Rowand said, referring to the entire series. "It's tough to swallow. We hoped we'd be in a better position than we're in. They came in wanting to win and played better these three days."

    Game notes

    Chicago's bullpen has a 10.57 ERA the last six games. The relievers allowed five runs in one inning Thursday. ... Twins CF Torii Hunter has a season-high nine-game hitting streak. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire missed his second straight game with the flu. He went home early on Wednesday and did not come to the park Thursday. Batting coach Scott Ullger served as acting manager both nights.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press