Series: Game 1 of 3

Minnesota leads 1-0 (as of 9/14)

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 2

(72-71, 33-39 away)

Twins 10

(84-60, 44-29 home)

    8:10 PM ET, September 14, 2004

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

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    MIN 00000910 - 10 8 1

    W: J. Santana (18-6)

    L: F. Garcia (11-11)

    Santana (18-6) wins 11th straight decision

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Nearing a third straight division title, Johan Santana and the Minnesota Twins aren't short on motivation. Their rivals, the fading Chicago White Sox, gave them a little more.

    Santana turned in another dominant start with seven shutout innings, and the Twins used a nine-run sixth to beat the White Sox 10-2 Tuesday night and extend their winning streak to seven.

    Santana (18-6) won his 10th straight start and 11th consecutive decision, and Minnesota increased its lead over Chicago in the AL Central to a season-high 11½ games with 18 to play. The Cleveland Indians are 14 games back.

    The Twins didn't arrive home until 4 a.m. Tuesday, ending an eight-day trip, and they were tired. White Sox starter Freddy Garcia woke them up in the first inning when he hit Torii Hunter in the back with a pitch.

    Minnesota believed it was retaliation for Hunter's hard charge toward home plate that knocked over and injured catcher Jamie Burke when the teams met in Chicago in late July. Garcia insisted he was just trying to throw inside, but the damage was done.

    "It angered us, and that's not the way you play the game," said Jacque Jones, who got the first hit off Garcia in the sixth to spark the big rally.

    Santana is 16-2 in 19 starts since June 9 with 179 strikeouts and 62 hits allowed in 140 1-3 innings. He is one shy of the most consecutive victories for the team since it moved to Minnesota in 1961, a mark set in 1991 by Scott Erickson and tied in 1997 by Brad Radke.

    "To me, he's the Cy Young winner," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "No doubt about it, he deserves it."

    Lew Ford and Henry Blanco each drove in two runs for the Twins, who have won 11 of 13.

    "Certain things happen in the course of a game to kind of give you a little wakeup call, and that kind of got us a little excited," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You could see the level of intensity rise."

    Santana was the first to show it by hitting Carlos Lee on the elbow in the fourth, prompting a warning for both benches.

    "You have to protect your players," Santana said.

    Added Hunter: "If you're going to hit a guy on purpose, we're going to hit your guy on purpose."

    Lee took out Augie Ojeda with a hard slide at second base, and shortstop Cristian Guzman barked at Lee as the inning ended. Then the rest of the lineup joined in, bombarding Garcia and three relievers in the sixth until Minnesota had a 9-0 lead.

    Garcia (11-11) unraveled, and the White Sox followed his lead. He allowed six runs -- five earned -- three hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings.

    Garcia walked the leadoff man three times, and Ojeda and Blanco both reached base on four balls to start the sixth. Shannon Stewart moved them up with a sacrifice, and Jones slapped a single to left on a slider that Garcia left over the plate.

    "I made a couple pitches and didn't get a call, but I've got to forget about it," Garcia said.

    Eight straight batters reached, Chicago made two errors and 13 men came to the plate. After an RBI double by Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau was walked intentionally and Ford hit a two-run single to chase Garcia and make it 4-0.

    "That says a lot about our team," Jones said.

    Santana walked Burke on a full count with two outs in the seventh, and Joe Crede crushed a line drive to right center that could've given Chicago its first run. But Hunter raced over to make a fully extended diving catch and end the inning, though replays showed the ball bounced on the turf first.

    Just another sign of how everything is going Minnesota's way.

    "They always have good execution," Guillen said. "Nobody's leading in home runs or average, but everybody knows what his role is and they play good baseball."

    The White Sox were quiet and deflated in the clubhouse afterward.

    "We didn't get the breaks," center field Aaron Rowand said.

    Game notes

    Minnesota established a season high with the nine runs in the sixth. The Twins record is 11, accomplished several times, and the franchise record is 12 by the Washington Senators against the St. Louis Browns in the eighth inning on July 10, 1926. ... Chicago's four-game winning streak at the Metrodome ended. The season series is tied at seven. ... The franchise record for consecutive wins is 16, set by Walter Johnson in 1912 and matched by Alvin Crowder in 1932 and 1933.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press