Lohse: four hits, one run through seven

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kyle Lohse is making the most of his last

chance to salvage his season.

Lohse pitched seven sharp innings, Michael Cuddyer went 3-for-4

with a homer and the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox

10-1 Thursday night for their ninth straight victory.

The streaking Twins are quickly closing in on their third

consecutive AL Central title. They reduced their magic number for

clinching the division to four.

Lohse (8-11) once appeared to be the odd man out in the Twins'

postseason rotation, but he's finishing strong with a 3-1 record in

his last six starts. On Thursday, he gave up one run, four hits and

one walk, lasting seven innings for only the third time since the

All-Star break.

"I've just been putting things together, and today I felt like

I had a pretty good fastball and slider," Lohse said. "That's my

style. It's just been one of those years, where one start I'll have

it, and the next I won't. Hopefully, I can put together a strong

finish and people can forget about the rest of the year."

Lohse, competing with Carlos Silva for the third spot in the

rotation behind Johan Santana and Brad Radke, had three 1-2-3

innings and got help from his defense throughout the game. Catcher

Pat Borders threw out Willie Harris on a pitchout in the first

after Harris led off with a single, and second baseman Augie Ojeda

turned a nice double play to end the inning.

Cuddyer then helped Lohse when he started a double play in the

sixth inning, diving to his right to grab Carlos Lee's liner to

third, then firing across the diamond to nip Aaron Rowand at first


"I've probably seen him more unhittable, as far as making guys

swing and miss more," Chicago's Paul Konerko said. "But he made

guys put the ball in play and he got some nice defense behind him.

That was a solid start right there."

The Twins, who outscored the White Sox 26-4 in the three-game

sweep, got on the board first when Borders hit a two-out RBI single

in the second.

Minnesota broke the game open with a four-run third. Jose

Offerman drove in one run with a groundout, Cristian Guzman hit an

RBI double, and Cuddyer followed with his 10th home run, a two-run

shot to left.

"We've got tunnel vision right now," Cuddyer said. "We've got

one thing on our minds right now, and that's winning games. Our

pitching and defense have carried us all year, and now we're

starting to swing the bats and score some runs. It's starting to


The White Sox scored their run in the fourth on Ross Gload's

sacrifice fly, but their offense struggled all series, batting just

.150 (15-for-90) with no extra-base hits.

"Two hits in an inning for us is looking mighty good," Konerko

said. "It seems like I can't remember the last time we put a

couple of hits together."

The Twins sealed the win with a five-run eighth inning, getting

RBI doubles from Ojeda and Borders and a three-run double by Justin


White Sox starter Jon Garland (10-11) gave up five runs on nine

hits and three walks. Garland is 1-4 with a 5.61 ERA in his last

nine road starts.

"We gave up unearned runs and we didn't hit," Rowand said,

referring to the entire series. "It's tough to swallow. We hoped

we'd be in a better position than we're in. They came in wanting to

win and played better these three days."Game notes
Chicago's bullpen has a 10.57 ERA the last six games. The

relievers allowed five runs in one inning Thursday. ... Twins CF

Torii Hunter has a season-high nine-game hitting streak. ... Twins

manager Ron Gardenhire missed his second straight game with the

flu. He went home early on Wednesday and did not come to the park

Thursday. Batting coach Scott Ullger served as acting manager both