The Twins blew opportunities early in the game. Francisco Liriano walked too many guys. They didn't get into Chicago until the crack of dawn. And they still won.
The new kid, J.J. Hardy, singled home Drew Butera's replacement, Joe Mauer, to plate the winning run in the top of the 11th, as the Twins went on to win 4-3, with Jon Rauch notching his third save.
The game got off to a rough start, with the Twins loading the bases on three consecutive singles, only to come up empty after a Justin Morneau strikeout and a double play that resulted from a base running gaffe by Orlando Hudson. This would become a theme in the early going, with the Twins getting runners on base often but not getting them home. They did manage to run John Danks' pitch count up, getting into a Chicago bullpen that was coming off an 11-inning game the night before.
Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano looked...okay. The walks we've mentioned, but he wriggled out of jams and did end up with a quality start, surrendering 3 runs in 6 innings.
The Twins continued getting runners on early, and finally broke through on some bloops and some shoddy defense from the Sox, grabbing a 2-1 lead in the top of the 6th. Liriano gave it right back in the bottom of the frame, grooving a pitch to Alex Rios that the latter drilled into the gap, giving Chicago a 3-2 lead.
Minnesota was able to tie it up in the 8th on a Justin Morneau double, and then both team's bullpens asserted themselves until the 11th. Joe Mauer pinch-hit, drew a walk, and scored on Hardy's single to left. This was after a couple close two-strike pitches to Hardy that were called balls, much to the displeasure of Ozzie Guillen and the home crowd. Phil Cuzzi was on the crew. He owed us that much, minimum.
The bottom of the 11th was mildly nerve-wracking, but Baby Jesus gunned down Alex Rios on his steal attempt, and Denard Span made a nice diving catch on an Alexi Ramirez liner to record the game's final out.
Enjoy your weekend and your first-place Minnesota Twins.
Twins vs White Sox boxscore