The Minnesota Twins went into Chicago and took care of business in incredibly easy fashion and now shift their full attention to besting the East’s beasts for home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
It was a great series to watch if you’re a Twins fan, but by golly if you’re a White Sox fan be ready for some major changes after what took place at U.S. Cellular Field this week.
The Twins beat the White Sox 9-3 in both of the first two games of the series and then finished them off with an 8-5 Paul Konerko-fat lip beat down. The White Sox put up a late surge on Thursday night, but outside of that, the Twins absolutely dominated their Central division trailer all series long.
Konerko took a baseball to the face in the first inning from Carl Pavano, resulting in a ballooned lip and swollen nose for the slugger, but he stuck it out and stayed in the game. It was all too reminiscent of Arnold’s puffer suffered after his motorcycle fiasco...
But you couldn’t help but feel bad for the All-Star first baseman. His team surrendered the division in embarrassing fashion and he got to go home with a nasty lip.
In retaliation for an obviously unintentional wild pitch from Pavano, Mark Buerhle plunked Michael Cuddyer to lead off the second inning; he later on came around to score the game’s first run. Not a wise move, but that’s the way the game’s played.
Pavano got the win but it wasn’t in the prettiest fashion after A.J. Pierzynski and Aramis Ramirez went yard to lead off the sixth inning. Nonetheless, he notched his 17th win and is just on short of matching his career-high set in 2004.
The Twins went 13-5 against the White Sox this season and lead them by nine in the AL Central with 16 games to play as they try to conquer their sixth division title in 10 years. Their magic number to claim the AL Central crown is now just eight.
They're a major league-leading 42-16 since the All-Star break and are hanging with the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees for the best record in the American League. They currently trail the Rays by just a .5 game.
And they get a nice six-game homestand against Oakland and Cleveland to help their cause. They currently trail only the Yankees the best home record in the majors (48-23).
Nick Blackburn(9-9, 5.51 ERA) will open the series against Oakland, which gets underway tonight at Target Field at 7 pm. Blackburn has allowed just five runs in four starts since rejoining the rotation at the end of August.