Sox within five of first as Buehrle shuts down Twins 3-0

With the way Tyler Flowers is playing, putting him in charge wasn’t a bad idea by Mark Buehrle.Buehrle pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning and Flowers drove in two runs as the White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 3-0 on Monday night in a game played in a brisk 2 hours, 4 minutes.The White Sox have won four straight and improved to two games above .500 for the first time since April 13. They moved within 5 games of the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.Buehrle (11-6) pitched around two walks in 7 2/3 innings and struck out four. He won his 159th game, tying him for sixth on the White Sox’s all-time list. Buehrle relied on Flowers, a rookie catcher, on just about every pitch.Flowers, who has been playing in place of the injured A.J. Pierzynski, was impressive at the plate again after hitting a grand slam in Sunday’s win over the Seattle Mariners.Buehrle has allowed only one earned run in 30 2/3 innings this season against the Twins and has 27 wins in his career over Minnesota. He has more wins over the Twins than any other active pitcher has against an opponent.Jesse Crain got an out in the eighth and closer Sergio Santos pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 31 chances, finishing the four-hitter.Twins starter Kevin Slowey (0-3) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. Slowey was out from May to August with an abdominal strain.The Twins are one-half game ahead of the last-place Kansas City Royals in the AL Central. After a leadoff walk by Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the eighth, Ben Revere moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt. Buehrle then retired Trevor Plouffe on a soft liner to second. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen pulled Buehrle after 109 pitches. After Buehrle left to a standing ovation, Crain struck out Michael Cuddyer to end the inning.Buehrle, who is a free agent after the season, isn’t worrying about his future with the White Sox.Before its current four-game winning streak against Minnesota, the Sox had lost 17 of 20 to the Twins and only won for the second time in 11 games against the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox manufactured a run in the second inning. With one out, Alejandro De Aza doubled to left. He stole third and scored on Flowers’ sacrifice fly.In the seventh, Dayan Viciedo led off with a single against Slowey and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by De Aza. Flowers followed with a double to left-center to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead.The White Sox got another run in the eighth. With two outs and Alexei Ramirez on second, Viciedo hit a slow roller to Valencia at third. Valencia wasn’t able to field the roller and Ramirez rounded third base hard and continued to the plate and scored without a throw.Both pitchers worked at a rapid pace, the first five innings were completed in under an hour.Again, the Twins had to play without catcher Joe Mauer and first baseman Justin Morneau. Mauer was out with a sore neck for the sixth straight game and Morneau injured his left shoulder diving for a ball in Sunday’s win over the Tigers. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Morneau is day to day and Mauer took swings in the cages before Monday’s game.

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