Minnesota 5, Chi. White Sox 3

Sept. 19, 2003 at 2:53 AM

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Jacque Jones homered twice and four pitchers combined on a nine-hitter Thursday night as Minnesota finished off a sweep of the Chicago White Sox, 5-3.

When the top two teams in the American League Central began their three-game series on Tuesday, the Twins were clinging to a one-half game lead, but Minnesota won the series opener, 5-2, and took Wednesday's contest, 4-2.

"For us, this was huge," said Minnesota Manager Ron Gardenhire. "Getting three in a row is always huge, but we were playing a great baseball team, too."

With a chance to go up 3 1/2 games with nine to play, Minnesota erased an early deficit and ran the best record in baseball since the All-Star break to 40-20.

Jones got the Twins going with a two-run homer off Chicago starter Bartolo Colon (14-13) in the first, and added his 15th homer of the season, another two-run shot off Colon in the third, to give Minnesota the lead for good.

"All season, you worry about what you do when you hit," Jones said. "You want to get ahead in the count and wait for the right pitch. Tonight, I just got those pitches right away and went with it."

The Twins host the lowly Detroit Tigers this weekend.

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