Mauer breaks up Floyd's no-hitter in ninth as ChiSox win

CHICAGO (AP) -- Another near miss for Gavin Floyd. Toying with a no-hitter for the second time in a month, the Chicago White Sox's right-hander watched his latest effort sail away with one out in the ninth.

Joe Mauer hit a high drive into the gap in left-center for a double, ending Floyd's no-hit bid and his outing Tuesday night.

What was he thinking as the ball left Mauer's bat?

"I hoped that it was an out," Floyd said calmly after ended a six-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory.

"I wasn't really looking at the ball and then I turned back and I saw Swish and Carlos coming after it. Swish made a great effort -- you know, Superman."

But the ball was too far between left fielder Carlos Quentin and center fielder Nick Swisher, who made a diving attempt but didn't really get close to the ball.

"Not close enough. I didn't make the catch, but you knew I was going for it," Swisher said.

"Unfortunately for Gavin, Mauer hit a ball that was just in a perfect spot," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.

Floyd (3-1) was taken out to a standing ovation after Mauer's double, and Bobby Jenks came on to get the final two outs.

"It motivated me to keep making pitches and just attack," Floyd said of the crowd support. "Hopefully throw a no-hitter. It didn't happen today, but we got a win."

Floyd, who held Detroit hitless for 7 1/3 innings on April 12 before Edgar Renteria singled, walked three and struck out four. The only run the Twins could muster was aided by an error on Chicago left fielder Carlos Quentin in the fourth inning.

With the spirited crowd of 23,480 at U.S. Cellular Field cheering loudly, Brendan Harris struck out looking at a curveball to start the ninth inning. As the tension built, Mauer put an end to the suspense.

Manager Ozzie Guillen then popped out of the dugout and went to get Floyd, his 25-year-old right-hander, who threw 105 pitches.

"I was just trying to get on base and get a hit," Mauer said. "I got a pitch that was up a little bit up and tried to drive it to the gap. ... His ball was moving, his slider was cutting."

After Floyd walked Mauer to lead off the fourth, Justin Morneau hit a slicing liner to left that Quentin got his glove on but couldn't hold for an error. One out later, Jason Kubel's sacrifice fly gave the Twins a run without a hit and cut Chicago's lead to 3-1.

After Morneau reached on the error, the 6-foot-5 Floyd got stronger and appeared on his way to pitching the second-no hitter at U.S. Cellular Field in just more than a year. Mark Buehrle pitched the 16th no-hitter in White Sox's history on April 18, 2007 against Texas.

Asked if he was destined to throw a no-hitter, Floyd said: "Who knows? It's out of your control."

Pierzynski, who caught Buehrle's no-hitter and has been behind the plate for both of Floyd's flirtations, said it's so rare and so difficult to retire 27 men without giving up a hit.

"So many things can go wrong. He came close tonight. He had a great shot," Pierzynski said.

Floyd is a former first-round pick of the Phillies whose career never took off in Philadelphia where he was 7-5 with a 6.96 ERA from 2004-06 when he made 19 starts. He joined the White Sox along with Gio Gonzalez in a trade for Freddy Garcia in December, 2006.

He was 1-5 a year ago when he made 10 starts for the White Sox while splitting time between the majors and Triple-A. But he has found his confidence and his stuff this season as the White Sox's No. 5 starter.

Floyd took his first loss of the season in his previous outing against the Twins in the Metrodome on April 29 when he gave up five hits and three runs in six innings.

He survived a shaky first Tuesday night, walking two of the first three batters before escaping the threat.

And on a comfortable 70-degree night, he kept the Twins in check for most of the night. His only career complete game was a five-inning win over the Mets almost two year ago on May 11, 2006.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire missed his fourth straight game following the death of his brother last Thursday. He is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday.

Jermaine Dye hit his fourth homer of the season leading off the bottom of the sixth off Nick Blackburn (2-2), who gave up six hits and four runs in six innings. That put the White Sox and Floyd up 4-1. Quentin added a two-run single off Jesse Crain in the bottom of the seventh.

Game notes
The Twins had their five-game winning streak snapped. ... MRI results on Minnesota RHP Scott Baker's sore groin revealed a light strain but no inflammation. While the Twins are undecided on whether Baker will require a stay on the disabled list. It is unlikely he will make his scheduled start on Saturday.