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ChiSox Lose, But Clinch

The Chicago White Sox left the Metrodome as losers and division champions.

They wanted to clinch the AL Central by winning and celebrating the old-fashioned way, with a mob scene on the field. Instead, they needed some help to win their first division title since 1993.

Matt Lawton hit a two-out homer in the 10th to give the Minnesota Twins a 6-5 victory over the White Sox after Chicago's young bullpen squandered a five-run lead.

The White Sox, who became the first team other than Cleveland to win the AL Central, clinched while the game was being played.

Kansas City's 9-0 victory over Cleveland, which eliminated the Indians from division contention, flashed across the scoreboard with two outs in the top of the 10th. That brought a sizable contingent of sign-toting Chicago fans among a small Metrodome crowd to its feet.

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  • Even after they walked off the field following Lawton's game-winning homer off rookie Kevin Beirne (1-2), the White Sox came out in front of their dugout and exchanged high fives and hugs, a subdued celebration.

    Yards away, the Twins were mobbing Lawton at the plate.

    Spot starter Sean Lowe limited the Twins to one hit in six innings and left with a 5-0 lead. But the Twins pounded three rookie relievers to tie the game, scoring four in the seventh and another in the eighth.

    Charles Johnson drove in three runs as the White Sox finally solved long-time nemesis Joe Mays and appeared on the way to an easy win.

    But rookie relievers Mark Buehrle and Lorenzo Barcelo were roughed up in the bottom of the seventh. Corey Koskie hit an RBI single off Buehrle and Barcelo gave up a three-run homer to A.J. Pierzynski that made it 5-4.

    Pinch-hitter Torii Hunter tripled to lead off the eighth off another rookie reliever, Kelly Wunsch, and scored on Denny Hocking's single to tie the game at 5-5.

    Eddie Guardado (6-3) got the victory with two innings of one-hit relief.

    Joe Mays entered with a career record of just 13-25 but was 4-0 against the White Sox, including three victories at the Metrodome, where he had allowed them just three earned runs in 24 1-3 innings.

    And he kept them off balance and scoreless again until the fifth.

    Herbert Perry singled but hurt a hamstring while running to first and left. Pinch-runner Greg Norton moved up on passed ball and scored on Johnson's looping two-out single

    The White Sox hustled and drove out Mays with four runs in the seventh.

    Carlos Lee singled and raced to third on a single by Paul Konerko. When center fielder John Barnes was slow relaying the ball to second, Lee sprinted home. On the throw to the plate, Konerko took second.

    Chris Singleton followed with an RBI single and then Johnson, a member of the Marlins' World Series winners in 1997 when Chicago manager Jerry Manuel was a bench coach with Florida, hit a two-run double that finished Mays.


  • Frank Thomas snapped an 0-for-9 skid with a soft single in the sixth. It was Thomas' career-high 186th hit of the season, one more than he had in 1992.
  • James Baldwin threw on the side Sunday and despite a persistent pain in his shoulder hopes to rejoin the rotation Friday against the Royals.
  • The status of manager Tom Kelly, his 14th full season, is still not clear. His contrct expires after this season.
  • The White Sox and Twins don't play again this season but they could see each other tomorrow in Cleveland where the Indians are host to both teams in an unusual day-night doubleheader a makeup with the White Sox in the afternoon and the regularly scheduled game with the Twins at night.

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