Series: Game 1 of 4

Chi White Sox leads 1-0 (as of 9/8)

Game 1: Monday, September 8
Chi White Sox5
Game 2: Tuesday, September 9
Chi White Sox8
Game 3: Wednesday, September 10
Chi White Sox1
Game 4: Thursday, September 11
Chi White Sox2

Twins 2

(76-67, 36-34 away)

White Sox 5

(77-66, 47-25 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 8, 2003

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 020000000 2 10 1
    CWS 50000000 - 5 9 1

    W: B. Colon (13-12)

    L: K. Lohse (12-11)

    Five-run first inning keys Chicago

    CHICAGO (AP) -- A quick start gave Bartolo Colon an early cushion. Then he used his arm and glove to send the Chicago White Sox into sole possession of first in the AL Central.

    Colon pitched his seventh complete game Monday night, escaping numerous scoring threats and making a big defensive play, as the White Sox used a five-run first to beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 in the opener of their AL Central showdown.

    "That's big for us to jump out in that fashion and get the hits that we did," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said.

    "Every time Bartolo got into trouble, he went up a notch, so you knew fatigue was not a factor in letting him go."

    Colon gave up 10 hits and snuffed out a Twins rally in the seventh when he snared Denny Hocking's liner up the middle with runners at second and third and no outs.

    He then struck out Doug Mientkiewicz and got Matthew LeCroy to fly out on a pitch that was clocked at 102 mph.

    "The ball caught me," Colon said of his defensive play.

    With the victory, Chicago took a one-game lead at the start of what promises to be a frenetic final three weeks of the season. After three more games at U.S. Cellular Field, the teams also play three times next week at the Metrodome.

    Minnesota starter Kyle Lohse almost didn't make it out of the first as the White Sox scored five times with two outs while batting around.

    And Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't survive the fourth, ejected after an argument with plate umpire Gerry Davis.

    "You don't want to cry, but we hit some balls pretty hard and they made some plays," Gardenhire said. "Colon did what he is supposed to do -- get people out in big situations. Denny hit a bullet right into his glove."

    Colon (13-12) walked one and struck out four, throwing 117 pitches.

    The White Sox, responding to a loud crowd of 32,807 on a half-price ticket night, came out quickly.

    Carlos Lee doubled with one out in the first, Frank Thomas walked and after Magglio Ordonez popped out, Carl Everett hit an RBI single.

    Paul Konerko walked to load the bases before Jose Valentin blooped a two-run single to center to make it 3-0. Joe Crede followed with a single and then Miguel Olivo hit a sinking liner to left-center that a diving Shannon Stewart couldn't hold, turning it into a two-run double.

    Lohse, 6-1 in his seven previous starts, settled down thereafter and allowed just two hits in his final five innings.

    "It's a little frustrating," Lohse said. "They got a couple of balls, if they hang up there a little longer, they were outs."

    Minnesota got two runs back in the top of the second on an RBI double by Torii Hunter and A.J. Pierzynski's run-scoring grounder after Corey Koskie singled and moved up on a wild pitch.

    Gardenhire was ejected for the seventh time this season when he argued with Davis in the middle of the fourth, right after first-base umpire Mark Carlson ruled Cristian Guzman's liner over first foul.

    "They yelled at us because we got excited when it was just foul, the one Guzman hit," Gardenhire said.

    "What are we supposed to do? It's a playoff atmosphere, guys react to it. ... Finally I just had enough and said, 'Why don't you watch the game? Just be out there, do the umpiring and leave our dugout alone.'"

    Gardenhire also questioned a call earlier when Mientkiewicz had to hold third on LeCroy's grounder past third because a fan fielded the ball, making it a ground-rule double.

    Game notes

    The White Sox have won five straight over the Twins and lead the season series 8-5. ... Twins 2B Luis Rivas missed his second straight game with a sore back. ... Stewart returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday's game with a sore hamstring. ... The teams shared first place for the previous five days.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press