Nathan blows it for Twins in 4-2 loss to Sox
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Twice, Joe Nathan and the Minnesota Twins were one strike from finishing a three-game sweep of Chicago and all but burying the White Sox in the AL Central race.
Two homers and two walks prompted the rare sight of Manager Ron Gardenhire shuffling to the mound to remove his four-time All-Star closer before the ninth inning was over.
Minutes later came another uncommon occurrence: The White Sox winning at the Metrodome, celebrating their last game at Minnesota's quirky Teflon-covered home with a 4-2 victory on Wednesday.
"How crazy this thing is," said manager Ozzie Guillen, whose team went 2-7 here this year and 3-16 since the summer of 2007.
"We figure out how to win in this place, and now we can't come here no more."
When the Twins come back next week, they hope to still have their momentum. A recent surge brought them within 3½ games of first-place Detroit when the day began, but this was an undeniably crushing defeat.
"I'm not a machine," said Nathan, who notched his fifth blown save in 40 chances.
After two quick outs, Nathan went to a full count on Gordon Beckham and challenged him with a fastball that wound up in the left-field seats. Paul Konerko worked the count full, too, and he whacked a slider into about the same place to tie the game and ruin rookie Brian Duensing's seven shutout innings.
Then Nathan (2-2) really fell apart. He walked Jermaine Dye and Carlos Quentin before being relieved by Matt Guerrier. Alexei Ramirez's single scored pinch-runner Dewayne Wise, and Quentin came home on a wild pitch. That run was just Chicago's 13th in the last six games.
"I messed up a pretty well-pitched ballgame. I think I got a little too predictable," Nathan said.
After six strong innings by starter Mark Buehrle, D.J. Carrasco (5-1) got the last out of the eighth and Bobby Jenks picked up his 28th save with a scoreless ninth.
Konerko walked into the clubhouse and jokingly declared, "We own this place!"
The White Sox won for the second time in 58 games this season when trailing after eight and raised their record on this miserable road trip to 2-8. They hit into four double plays, Scott Podsednik was caught stealing after a leadoff single, and Quentin was easily thrown out trying to stretch for a double in the seventh inning.