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Lead over Twins shrinks, but White Sox feel fine
The clubhouse music was loud. Nick Swisher was amazed that he hit a home run off All-Star closer Joe Nathan with a broken bat to snap an 0-for-18 slump.
And manager Ozzie Guillen reminded his players in a brief postgame meeting that the White Sox remain in first place in the American League Central.
All this after the Sox's lead was cut to a half-game when they blew a four-run lead en route to a 6-5 loss to the Twins.
"Nobody said this was going to be easy, but this isn't the time to start watching [the standings]," catcher Toby Hall said. "We'll let you guys talk about who's two back and who's up a half-game. With this many games left (57), you've just got to go out there and try to win every game and let the cards play at the end."
Despite four scoreless innings from rookie left-hander Clayton Richard and a two-run single by Josh Fields, a 4-0 lead vanished when the Twins scored five times in the fifth, capped by Justin Morneau's two-out, three-run double.
"That's a typical Minnesota Twins game," Guillen said. "Twenty-five bloopers and a big blast. That's the way they play. They've been there for a reason. They don't beat themselves. They make the plays and don't quit. That's what you get."
Brian Anderson, starting in place of Swisher, hit a solo home run to make it 4-0. But Anderson overthrew the cutoff man and was charged with an error that took away a potential inning-ending double-play situation in the fifth.
With Thursday's 3 p.m. non-waiver trading deadline approaching, Guillen expressed doubt about a deal and reinforced his faith in his roster.
"I believe in what we've got," Guillen said. "When Jose [Contreras], [ Joe] Crede and [ Scott] Linebrink come back to the lineup, this club obviously is going to be better."
That the Sox lost their third straight game didn't seem to rattle them.
"It's frustrating losing these first two games [here], but we've got a good mind-set," Swisher said. "You can hear the music [playing]. No one is tense or panicking."
With two outs in the ninth, Swisher shattered his bat but launched a homer.
"It's about time," Guillen said of Swisher, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. "It's a lot of pressure here. The guys who cannot play with pressure in Chicago ... they better look at it. Every game from the All-Star break is important. The farther you get [into the season], the tighter you get.
"It's fun that way."
Guillen said he would "hydrate" before deciding whether to start first baseman Paul Konerko on Wednesday. Konerko, mired in a 1-for-15 slump, lined out and hit a sharp single to center Tuesday night.
"I like it," Guillen said. "That's what we want from him, to give us good at-bats and see what happens. I hate players who make $100 million and feel sorry for themselves when my dad still has to work. Just go out there and relax, you're good. And they're in the big leagues for a reason.
"I told them to enjoy themselves. You never know. This could be the last pennant race in your life. Enjoy it when you've got it."