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Twins Complete Sweep of White Sox

July 27, 2006|From the Associated Press

CHICAGO — Michael Cuddyer believed his team was better and thought the problems would pass.

Wishful thinking or not, time proved him right.

Cuddyer and Justin Morneau hit two-run home runs, and the surging Minnesota Twins beat plummeting Chicago, 7-4, on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep and move into a second-place tie with the White Sox.

Minnesota and Chicago trail Detroit by 8 1/2 games in the AL Central and are half a game behind the New York Yankees in the wild-card race. The Twins, who have won 34 of 42, open a three-game series at home against Detroit on Friday.

"We knew, eventually, if we were to keep winning, we'd catch whoever was in front of us," Cuddyer said.

Cuddyer homered in the first inning, and Morneau broke a 3-3 tie with a long shot to right in the fifth.

The White Sox had been running neck-and-neck with Detroit but have fallen back during a skid in which they've dropped 12 of 15.

"For the first time in my life I'm speechless," said Ozzie Guillen, Chicago's outspoken manager. "It's been two tough weeks. It's tough for me to point at any of the players. I blame everybody."

All-Star left-hander Mark Buehrle (9-9) lost his fifth start in a row, giving up 10 hits and seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. He left with two runners on in the sixth. Both scored on Nick Punto's single off Brandon McCarthy that made it 7-3.

"I haven't done anything for this team in the last month and a half," Buehrle said. "It's getting frustrating. Every time we score some runs, I go back and give them right back up. It's embarrassing, and I'd better turn it around."

Buehrle's earned-run average has jumped from 3.22 to 4.81. The Twins were 25-33 in early June but now are in the thick of playoff contention.

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