Minneapolis Esteban Loaiza must be having a hard time avoiding thoughts of the All-Star game. After all, it's in his home park, and he's tied for the major-league lead in wins.
Loaiza pitched eight impressive innings to match a career high with his 11th victory, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 2-1, Tuesday night.
Loaiza (11-2) allowed only an unearned run and six hits, striking out six and walking one. He joined Toronto's Roy Halladay and Colorado's Shawn Chacon as the only pitchers in the majors with 11 wins.
"He's just having a great year and showing that he can pitch his pitches when he has to," Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said. "We haven't said anything about the All-Star game, but if they have some other people they're considering to start, I don't see anybody better than Esteban Loaiza."
Loaiza lowered his ERA to 1.99, best in the majors, as the White Sox crept within 41/2 games of Minnesota and Kansas City, who are tied for first place in the AL Central.
"Everybody talked about Bartolo Colon and Billy Koch as the guys who were going to revitalize that team, but Esteban Loaiza has taken a lot of pressure off those guys," said Minnesota's Denny Hocking, who had two of the Twins' six hits.
The White Sox won for only the sixth time in 23 games at the Metrodome in the last 21/2 seasons. In May, the Twins outscored Chicago 24-6 in a three-game sweep.
"This one was big but tomorrow is bigger because we can win the series," White Sox shortstop Jose Valentin said. "That's what we came here to do. We know it is possible. We came here to at least get two of three."
Damaso Marte got two outs in the ninth, and Koch retired Torii Hunter for his 11th save in 13 chances.
Only one Minnesota baserunner advanced past first in the first seven innings against Loaiza. Hocking hit a one-out double in the sixth -- neatly avoiding Valentin's tag at second base -- but was stranded when Jacque Jones and Cristian Guzman grounded out.
Trailing 2-0, the Twins finally scored in the eighth but needed help from Chicago's suspect defense. Bobby Kielty led off with a single and, one out later, Hocking drew a five-pitch walk from Loaiza.
Jones hit the next pitch on the ground to second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez, a potential inning-ending double play. However, Valentin's relay was wild, allowing Kielty to score and Jones to reach second.
With the tying run in scoring position, Loaiza again squelched the threat by getting Guzman to ground out to Jimenez, again on the first pitch.
"They're being aggressive. They want to get runners on and runners in like we do," Loaiza said. "I wanted to push it a little more and not give in. They're going to hit me with my good stuff."
Mariners 6, Angels 4
Anaheim, Calif. -- Freddy Garcia won his sixth straight start to tie a career best, and Seattle received home runs from Mike Cameron and Bret Boone. The AL West-leading Mariners extended their lead over the defending World Series champions to 131/2 games. The third-place Angels are 71/2 games behind Oakland in the wild-card standings following their seventh loss in nine games. They dropped three of four last week at Seattle and are two games under .500.
Red Sox 10, Tigers 1
Boston -- Nomar Garciaparra went 5-for-5, and Derek Lowe pitched eight strong innings, leading Boston past Detroit. Garciaparra singled five times and scored three runs before he was removed for a pinch-runner in the seventh. The only other time in his career he has had at least five hits in a game was Saturday, when he went 6-for-6.
Orioles 6, Blue Jays 4
Toronto -- Jeff Conine and Tony Batista homered as Baltimore ended an eight-game losing streak to Toronto. Carlos Delgado hit his AL-leading 23rd homer in the ninth inning for the Blue Jays. He leads the majors with 81 RBIs -- the most ever by a Toronto player before the All-Star break
Conine hit a two-run homer off Kelvim Escobar (5-4) in the fourth to cut Baltimore's deficit to 3-2.
Escobar hit Conine on the left shoulder with a pitch in the sixth. Conine glared at Escobar as he walked to first base, and plate umpire Ed Rapuano warned both dugouts.
Jay Gibbons followed with a two-run double past first baseman Carlos Delgado, giving Baltimore a 4-3 lead. Batista then chased Escobar with a two-run homer.
Rangers 7, Athletics 6
Arlington, Texas -- Carl Everett hit a three-run homer, Mark Teixeira had three RBIs, and Mario Ramos earned his first major-league victory as Texas halted an eight-game losing streak.
The A's rallied for four runs in the ninth on Terrence Long's RBI single and Mark Ellis' run-scoring triple off Brian Shouse, then Eric Byrnes' two-run homer off closer Ugueth Urbina.
After Scott Hatteberg doubled, Urbina struck out Miguel Tejada for his 19th save in 23 chances. Urbina blew a save in Monday night's 3-1 loss to the A's.
Yankees 10, Devil Rays 9
St. Petersburg, Fla. -- Juan Rivera hit a three-run homer, and Todd Zeile added an RBI double as New York scored four times in the ninth inning to beat Tampa Bay. Jason Anderson (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for his first major-league victory. Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 10th save in 11 opportunities as the Yankees won for just the second time in 28 tries when trailing after eight innings.