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Win Puts Twins in Control

Minnesota beats Chicago, 4-2, to increase its lead in the AL Central to 2 1/2 games and has remainder of the schedule in its favor.

September 18, 2003|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Sitting in the bullpen before Minnesota's game against Chicago, pitching coach Rick Anderson had a good feeling about Twin starter Kenny Rogers.

"I said, 'You know what? Kenny's going to turn up a good one tonight. I just feel it,' " Anderson said.

He was right.

Rogers (12-8) gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings and Michael Ryan homered to help the Twins beat Chicago, 4-2, on Wednesday night and close in on a three-game sweep of their American League Central rivals.

The win put Minnesota 2 1/2 games ahead of Chicago, which will try to avoid the sweep tonight at the Metrodome.

"We're finally playing like we're capable of," Rogers said.

Regardless of tonight's outcome, the Twins appear to have the edge over the White Sox in the race for the division title.

Chicago closes out the regular season with two series against the third-place Kansas City Royals and one against the AL East-leading New York Yankees. The Twins face Cleveland and have two series against Detroit, which lost its 113th game Wednesday night.

Twin Manager Ron Gardenhire cautioned against getting too optimistic based on the schedule.

"When you've got this many games, anything can happen," he said.

The Twins have the best record in the majors since the All-Star break, 39-20.

Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 37th save in 40 chances.

Chicago starter Jon Garland (11-12) lasted only 4 2/3 innings. He gave up four earned runs, six hits and walked five.

Garland would have pitched Tuesday night, but Manager Jerry Manuel flip-flopped Garland and Esteban Loaiza in the hopes that Loaiza, a 19-game winner, would set the tone for the series. But Loaiza also lost.

"I couldn't make a pitch," Garland said. "My mechanics ... were bad."

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