for this game

Twins crush White Sox, trim AL Central deficit

Sep 24, 2008 - 1:58 PM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Despite a lifetime batting average of .095 against Chicago White Sox starter Javier Vazquez, Jason Kubel got the nod at designated hitter on Tuesday because Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the slugger had a chance to put it over the wall.

Kubel did just that and then some, blasting a pair of home runs to go with a triple and three runs scored to pace Minnesota's 9-3 victory over the White Sox at the Metrodome and make the American League Central Division race even more interesting.

Scott Baker pitched seven strong innings for the win, breathing more life into the playoff hopes of the Twins (85-72) as they captured a critical win to move within 1 1/2 games of the first-place White Sox (86-70), who fell to 1-6 in the Metrodome this season.

"If we lose tonight, that's almost the season right there," Kubel said. "So this is one we really needed to have. It just sets up the rest of the series with the extra confidence we have coming off of (Tuesday)."

Minnesota jumped on Chicago starter Javier Vazquez, who followed up his shortest outing of the season with his second-shortest start of 2008. Vazquez allowed five runs and seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts in four innings, giving him a 12.91 ERA in his last two starts and dropping him to 2-1 with a 6.61 ERA against Minnesota this season.

"Javy had a rough outing," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They got a couple cheap hits. But when you play Minnesota you'll get a lot of those. I think he lost his command a little bit later."

Ken Griffey Jr. staked Vazquez to a 1-0 advantage with a double-play grounder that scored Jim Thome in the second inning, but the lead would not last long.

After Justin Morneau walked on four pitches, Kubel blasted a 2-2 changeup for his 20th homer of the season to give Minnesota a lead it would not relinquish.

"That took a lot of pressure off," Morneau said. "That was big - a big game from Kubel. For him to go up there and do what he does - he's having a pretty big year for us. (Nineteen) homers, you know, on our team looks pretty good."

Kubel struck again with a triple to lead off the fourth inning past a diving Griffey and scored on Delmon Young's bloop double down the right field line.

Young later scored on Nick Punto's suicide squeeze that he beat out for a hit, and Punto stole second base and scored on Carlos Gomez's RBI single to give the Twins a 5-1 lead.

After explaining his decision to play Kubel despite his poor average against Vazquez before the game, Gardenhire sternly retorted when asked about his confidence in Kubel after the victory.

"I, unlike some people, watched every (previous) at-bat right here and saw them all," Gardenhire said. "I saw eight quality at-bats, where he had great at-bats and hit some bullets. I watched that, so I know exactly what I've got. That's just my side. I'm happy for Kubel. I expect that. He's our DH. He's a hitter."

The Twins offense remained as fierce as its manager in the fifth inning as Joe Mauer singled of Clayton Richard to lead off frame and Morneau drove him home with his club-record 47th double of the season. Morneau later scored on Brian Buscher's sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 7-1 advantage.

Baker rode the run support to his third win in his last five starts, improving to 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA in three starts against Chicago this season.

His only trouble came in the fifth inning when he loaded the bases with a walk and two singles, but A.J. Pierzynski grounded out to end the threat.

"It's never fun to get the bases loaded, especially with A.J. up because he's a very good contact hitter," Baker said. "The objective was to get ahead of him with breaking stuff and fortunately I was able to do that."

Baker calmly retired the final seven batters he faced, then refused afterwards to concede he felt any pressure or urgency about the outing.

"We put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs, so if you try to do too much or put too much stock into each individual game we're not going to help ourselves," Baker said. "I think the objective was to go out there and have some fun, and it was a lot of fun tonight."

Anyone not already certain it was Baker's day had to be convinced in the top of the seventh inning when Alexei Ramirez hit a liner back at the righthander, who reacted in time to get his glove on the ball, tip it in the air, and catch it barehanded on the run for the out.

Kubel and Young punctuated the victory in the bottom half of the seventh, chasing reliever Boone Logan after just four pitches with back-to-back homers. Kubel's two homers marked the second multi-home run game of his career.

Griffey supplied one of few positives for Chicago with a two-run homer in the ninth off Twins reliever Matt Guerrier, but Guillen kept the loss in perspective.

"We cannot feel like we lost the pennant race," Guillen said. "We're still in first place. We just have to believe in ourselves and keep fighting the way we've been fighting all year long."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 6 0
    MINNESOTA 0 2 0 3 2 0 2 0 x 9 12 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHA - JAVIER VAZQUEZ, CLAYTON RICHARD (5TH), BOONE LOGAN (7TH), D.J.
    CARRASCO (7TH), HORACIO RAMIREZ (8TH) AND A.J. PIERZYNSKI,
    PAUL PHILLIPS (8TH)
    MIN - SCOTT BAK

    Sep 23 10:53 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY KEN GRIFFEY JR (2) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 9TH OFF MATT GUERRIER SCORED PAUL KONERKO.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3, MINNESOTA 9
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: A RAMIREZ (.295, 1-FOR-3)

    White Sox 3, Twins 9  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 23 10:52 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DELMON YOUNG (10) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF BOONE LOGAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1, MINNESOTA 9
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: B BUSCHER (.299, 0-FOR-2, SF, RBI)

    White Sox 1, Twins 9  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 23 10:23 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JASON KUBEL (20) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF BOONE LOGAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1, MINNESOTA 8
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: D YOUNG (.292, 2-FOR-2, BB, RBI)

    White Sox 1, Twins 8  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 23 10:22 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY BRIAN BUSCHER SCORED JUSTIN MORNEAU.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D YOUNG ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1
    MINNESOTA 7 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: N PUNTO (.287, 2-FOR-2, RBI)

    White Sox 1, Twins 7  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 23 9:57 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JUSTIN MORNEAU SCORED JOE MAUER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MORNEAU ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1
    MINNESOTA 6 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J KUBEL (.275, 2-FOR-2, HR, 2 RBI)

    White Sox 1, Twins 6  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 23 9:53 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS GOMEZ SCORED NICK PUNTO.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C GOMEZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1
    MINNESOTA 5 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: D SPAN (.296, 0-FOR-2)

    White Sox 1, Twins 5  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 23 9:26 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    BUNT SINGLE BY NICK PUNTO SCORED DELMON YOUNG.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, N PUNTO ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1
    MINNESOTA 4 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: C GOMEZ (.255, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 1, Twins 4  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 23 9:20 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DELMON YOUNG SCORED JASON KUBEL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D YOUNG ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1
    MINNESOTA 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: B BUSCHER (.300, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 1, Twins 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 23 9:17 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    White Sox 1, Twins 0  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 23 8:39 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JASON KUBEL (19) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF JAVIER VAZQUEZ SCORED JUSTIN MORNEAU.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1, MINNESOTA 2
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: D YOUNG (.289, 9 HR, 65 RBI)

    White Sox 1, Twins 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 23 8:39 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    KEN GRIFFEY JR HIT INTO DOUBLE PLAY SCORING JIM THOME.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 1
    MINNESOTA 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: A RAMIREZ (.294, 20 HR, 72 RBI)

    White Sox 1, Twins 0  Top 2, 0 OutsSep 23 8:32 PM
  • 5
    roots
    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    White Sox vs. TwinsSep 23 6:41 PM