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Garcia gives up five runs but gets support

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Freddy Garcia's debut with the Chicago White
Sox was far from great. It didn't need to be.

Given plenty of run support from his surging new team, Garcia
threw six innings and beat the Minnesota Twins 9-6 on Wednesday
night.

Paul Konerko, Jose Valentin and Joe Crede backed him with home
runs, and the White Sox moved one game ahead of the Twins in the AL
Central -- two in the loss column.

"What a difference," said Garcia, acquired Sunday in a trade
with Seattle to solidify Chicago's rotation for the playoff race.

"We can hit, and we can come back," Garcia said. "Everyone is
excited to play."

Garcia (5-7) gave up seven hits and five runs -- four earned --
while striking out a season-high nine. Aaron Rowand added a homer
in the eighth for the White Sox, who have won four straight overall
and six of their last seven against rival Minnesota. The Twins have
been outscored 61-19 in those six defeats.

"This is a team we want to beat," Valentin said. "But we
don't want to do this just against Minnesota. We want to do this
against whoever we play."

The highest-scoring team in the majors, the Sox aren't just
hitting with power. They've got guys using the whole field and
moving runners over, too.

"We're very positive and confident right now," Valentin said.

Rookie Joe Mauer hit the second of his two homers off Shingo
Takatsu with one out in the ninth, ending the scoreless streak of
Japan's career saves leader at 26 2-3 innings. It was Mauer's first
career two-homer game.

But Brad Radke (4-4) allowed season highs in hits (11) and runs
(eight) while striking out two in six-plus innings. He hasn't won
in seven starts since a 9-1 victory over the White Sox on May 22,
though he pitched very well with nothing to show for it in most of
those outings.

"You've got to give up some runs to get some runs," Radke said
jokingly. "I think I gave up four too many."

Cristian Guzman and Corey Koskie also homered for Minnesota,
which lost its season-high fourth straight. The Twins entered with
a league-low .246 batting average since the start of May, but they
finally got a few big hits -- against one of the AL's best pitchers.

"That's big," said Torii Hunter, who struck out twice.
"That's a sign we're going to come out of it."

After Mauer's homer in the third, Matthew LeCroy -- returning to
the lineup after sitting out Tuesday's game with a sore knee -- led
off the fifth with a single. He moved up when Valentin misplayed
Mauer's grounder for an error.

Then, Guzman pulled an 0-1 pitch off the face of an empty suite
above right field to tie it at 4.

But Radke just didn't have it. He gave up Valentin's 17th homer
in the sixth, watched Koskie retie it in the bottom of the inning
with his solo shot and then let the White Sox break it open with a
three-run seventh to make it 8-5.

Crede led off with a homer, and Radke gave up consecutive
singles before being replaced by Juan Rincon. Frank Thomas singled
in a run and Carlos Lee added a sacrifice fly.

"I really didn't feel strong," Radke said. "I just left a lot
of pitches over the plate."

The Mariners averaged a major league-worst 2.19 runs in Garcia's
15 starts, a lack of support that Radke could relate to. In his
nine no-decisions, the Twins have scored just 17 runs with him in
the game.

But Radke had nothing to complain about in this one: The Sox
scored in each of the first four innings.

Timo Perez started the game with a double and came home on a
sacrifice fly by Thomas, but Lew Ford minimized the damage by
leaping over the left-field wall to steal a home run from Lee.

Crede beat out an infield chop to third for the last of three
singles in the second to score Valentin.

Lee added an RBI single in third, and Konerko's leadoff homer in
the fourth put Chicago up 4-1.

"This club is pretty resourceful," Twins manager Gardenhire
said. "It's still early. We don't really feel like we've played
very good baseball at all, and we're still right near the top."

Game notes
After making the All-Star team and hitting .304 with 27
homers in 2002, Konerko slumped to .234, 18 and 65 last year -- and
that was with a solid second half. This year, his 20 homers and 54
RBI are well on pace to surpass career highs (32 homers in 2001
and 104 RBI in 2002). ... Guzman hit 57 triples and 31 homers in
his first five seasons. This year? Four homers and just two
triples.