Final in 11

Series: Game 2 of 3

Minnesota leads 2-0 (as of 8/26)

Game 1: Friday, August 25
Minnesota5Final
Chi White Sox4
Game 2: Saturday, August 26
Minnesota8Final
in 11
Chi White Sox7
Game 3: Sunday, August 27
Minnesota1Final
Chi White Sox6

Twins 8

(76-52, 32-32 away)

White Sox 7

(75-54, 41-25 home)

    7:05 PM ET, August 26, 2006

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    1234567891011 R H E
    MIN 03201000101 8 11 2
    CWS 01011002200 7 11 1

    W: W. Eyre (1-0)

    L: M. Thornton (4-2)

    Extra wild: Twins build lead on ChiSox with win in 11

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Jermaine Dye's two-run, ninth-inning homer off stellar closer Joe Nathan tied the game and sent the crowd at U.S. Cellular Field into a frenzy.

    What it didn't do was deflate the Minnesota Twins.

    Nick Punto singled in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 11th and Minnesota pushed its wild card lead over Chicago to 1 games Saturday night by beating the White Sox 8-7.

    "We just keep fighting. We don't get down," Punto said after the Twins won for the ninth time in 12 games and moved within four games of AL Central leader Detroit.

    "Super Joe Nathan blew a save," Punto said. "He never does that. Some teams might get down. We didn't."

    It was just the second blown save in 29 chances this season for Nathan. This time it was his teammates' turn to bail him out.

    "That's the way we come in and play the game," Nathan said. "The game was tied. It's not like we were losing. We knew we still had some baseball to play."

    The Twins used a small-ball approach to push across the game winner against Matt Thornton (4-2).

    Pinch-hitter Lew Ford led off the 11th with a single, moved to second on Jason Bartlett's sacrifice and to third on Luis Castillo's grounder. Punto then hit the ball the other way past diving Chicago first baseman Ross Gload to score Ford.

    "They don't lean on one guy. They're all playing good baseball," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.

    Willie Eyre (1-0) pitched two innings for his first major-league win.

    Dye's 38th homer followed a single by Tadahito Iguchi, who moved to second on an error.

    But the long drive to left couldn't keep the defending World Series champions from losing for the eighth time in 12 games, including the first two of the three-game series with Minnesota.

    "A good game. A tough loss," Dye said. "A lot of emotion out there. We fought back against [Johan] Santana and then to tie the game was great. We just let one get away."

    Santana, who'd already beaten the White Sox three times this season, allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, including homers to Gload and Sandy Alomar Jr. He left with a 6-3 lead.

    But Chicago rallied against the Twins' bullpen.

    Paul Konerko hit his 29th homer, connecting off Juan Rincon in the eighth to make it 6-4. After Dennys Reyes walked two to load the bases and threw two more balls, Pat Neshek relieved and gave up a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Alex Cintron before striking out A.J. Pierzynski.

    The Twins then made it 7-5 with an unearned run in the top of the ninth off Bobby Jenks when Tyner led off by reaching on Juan Uribe's error. Castillo had an infield single and Punto a sacrifice fly.

    Minnesota drove struggling Chicago starter Jose Contreras out after 2 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. He gave up five runs and seven hits and in his last three starts has surrendered 27 hits and 19 runs in 14 1/3 innings.

    "I've never seen Jose worse than that," Guillen said. "I'm worried about him now."

    Rondell White and Jason Tyner had two RBI each and Torii Hunter homered off Brandon McCarthy to help the Twins build their lead.

    White drove an RBI triple over Rob Mackowiak's head in center, reaching third with an ugly chest-first slide. Tyner then dropped a soft single to right-center and the Twins had a 2-0 lead.

    Bartlett, who had the go-ahead single Friday night in the ninth inning, then hit a ground-rule double over Mackowiak's head to make it 3-0. Mackowiak had an RBI grounder in the second inning after the White Sox loaded the bases.

    White delivered an RBI grounder in the third after singles by Cuddyer and Justin Morneau before Tyner lined a run-scoring single to right to make it 5-1 and finish Contreras.

    Game Notes
    Rain delayed the start of the game 25 minutes. ... Alomar's homer was his first since Sept. 17, 2004, against Detroit. He is in his third stint with the White Sox. ... Sox DH Jim Thome missed his third straight game with a strained left hamstring. ... Twins RHP Brad Radke, who left Friday night's start after two innings, went back to Minnesota to have a cortisone injection in his right shoulder. He has been pitching with a torn labrum. ... Hunter has homered in four straight games. ... Castillo stole his 300th career base. ... Dye, who was 0-for-4 when he homered, now has 101 RBI.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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