Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) – Carl Pavano threw his fourth complete game of the season, outpitching Mark Buehrle to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Target Field.
Pavano (11-6), who had never thrown more than two complete games in a season prior to this year, gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out six.
The right-hander got into trouble in the ninth, which Omar Vizquel began with a double, but retired the next three batters to win his sixth consecutive decision.
Minnesota has won the last two contests of this four-game set after losing Thursday’s opener, primarily thanks to its pitching. On Friday, Francisco Liriano tossed 7 2/3 strong innings to help the Twins take a 7-4 victory.
Buehrle (8-8), meanwhile, gave up only three runs on nine hits in eight innings, but took the loss. Paul Konerko finished 2-for-4 and drove in both runs for Chicago, which has dropped its last two after a nine-game win streak.
“It was a pitchers’ duel out there,” Buehrle said. “Obviously Carl’s having a great year and throwing the ball well, and I put our team in a deep hole.”
The White Sox took the lead in the first inning, when Alex Rios doubled with two away. Konerko plated Rios with a single to right, but was thrown out at second to end the inning.
The Twins then used a string of hits in the bottom of the second to jump in front. Michael Cuddyer began the frame with a ground-rule double and scored on Delmon Young’s base hit to center. Jason Kubel followed by blasting a hit to center field that bounced off the wall and away from Rios, allowing Young to score and Kubel to advance to third.
Danny Valencia’s double to left scored Kubel for a 3-1 advantage, and Pavano made the lead hold up. He allowed a one-out solo homer to Konerko in the fourth, but set the White Sox down in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
Vizquel set up a big scoring opportunity for Chicago in the ninth with his double to left.
“It’s not the way you want to start an inning,” Pavano said. “I was confident in my pitches, I was confident in keeping the ball in the infield. I felt pretty good about that. I didn’t allow too many balls in the air, other than the home run and a couple hits, so I felt pretty good about it.”
Pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge moved to third when Rios grounded out to first, providing at least a sacrifice fly chance for Konerko. However, Pavano got him swinging on a low-and-outside pitch, then retired Carlos Quentin on a grounder to short to end the game.
Konerko’s homer was his 21st of the season…Quentin was back in the lineup after missing Friday’s game with a bruised right hand. He finished 0- for-4…Cuddyer and Young each finished with two hits…Minnesota leads the season series, 5-3.