Matt held them scoreless until the third, when first baseman Ross Gload doubled with one out, third baseman Josh Fields drew a walk and designated hitter Rob Mackowiak did his job by doubling in the first run. Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi then hit a two-run single and stole second, moving to third on an Alex Cintron base hit. Ryan Sweeney then grounded out, scoring Iguchi.
After another walk for Garza, Matt Guerrier (3.36 ERA) came in for 4.1 innings of relief, allowing 2 more runs on 4 hits with 2 strikouts. One came in the fifth off a Sweeney single and another in the seventh from an Iguchi home run, his 18th of the year.
Jon Garland (W 18-7, 4.51 ERA) held the Twins hitless through four and allowed only Jason Tyner (1 for 3), Justin Morneau (2 for 4) and Luis Rodriguez (1 for 4) to reach up until the eighth.
The Twins tried to put together a comeback in the bottom of the ninth when Nick Punto reached on a fielding error by Cintron. After an L-Rod strikeout, Mike Redmond (1 for 4) singled and Michael Cuddyer (1 for 4) blasted his second homerun in as many games (24) to cut Chicago's lead in half.
Cuddyer's three-run shot
So, the Twins missed another opportunity to gain first place in the Division before the Tigers face the Royals later Saturday evening. Minnesota is now a half game back with one more to play.
Speculation: If Detroit wins today, the best the Twins can do is tie (which does them no good since the Tigers own the tie-breaker with a better head-to-head record) and face New York in the ALDS. If Detroit loses their last two games and the Twins pull Sunday's game off, they would win the Division and play the Oakland A's in the first round, gaining home field advantage with the better record.
Batting Title Watch: Joe Mauer (.346 avg) rested during Saturday's tough loss to the White Sox. Derek Jeter (.341) and Robinson Cano (.342) will look to play catch up with Joe during the Yankees' 4pm game against the Blue Jays. Look for updates in the comments section.
MVP Action for Saturday, September 30, 2006...
Justin Morneau: 2 for 4 | .321 avg | 129 RBI | 34 HR
Johan Santana: 19-6 | 2.77 ERA | 245 K | 233.2 IP
Derek Jeter: 4pm vs. Toronto