MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Since winning the AL Central title at the Metrodome in 2000, the Chicago White Sox have had plenty of trouble in Minnesota.
But that might be changing. A 5-1 victory Thursday over the Twins enabled the White Sox to win two of three games at the dome.
Mark Buehrle took another step toward getting his season back on track by winning his third straight start, a five-hitter.
Keeping Minnesota from creating any momentum from its 11th-inning comeback victory Wednesday night, Chicago got an early lead for Buehrle in a game that lasted just 2 hours, 6 minutes.
When it was over, the White Sox won a series in Minnesota for the first time in nearly three years. Since the start of 2001, Chicago is 7-18 in the dome.
"We'd have loved to get a sweep, but two out of three is great," Frank Thomas said. "It really is."
Jose Valentin went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and D'Angelo Jimenez and Aaron Rowand drove in runs for Chicago, which won for the eighth time in 13 games behind Buehrle's best outing this year.
"Against a good offensive club, he hit his spots, changed speeds and kept the ball down," manager Jerry Manuel said. "He was outstanding. We've always seen quality, but this time there was dominance."
Buehrle (5-10) struck out a career-high nine and walked two, losing his shutout on Corey Koskie's RBI double in the ninth.
"Winning three in a row -- sure, it feels good," Buehrle said. "It always feels different when you're winning."
The Twins, losers of four straight series and nine of their last 13 home games, seem to have lost that feel -- putting manager Ron Gardenhire on edge.
"We thought we'd come out with a little more fire," Gardenhire said. "I know Buehrle pitched very well, but it was disappointing the way we went after the game like that.
"I didn't think we had much out there. Guys were lobbing balls between innings. It's pretty frustrating to watch."
Denny Hocking, who singled in the ninth and scored on Koskie's double that missed landing in the seats by inches, was taken aback by his manager's comment.
"If he doesn't think we came to play, he ought to look at the tape and see how Mark Buehrle was pitching," Hocking said.
Buehrle, who won 35 games over the past two years, gave up a career-high 10 runs against the Twins at the Metrodome in an 18-3 loss May 16. He bottomed out June 11 at home against San Francisco, allowing eight runs in 4 1-3 innings.
Since then, he's helped pitch the White Sox back into the AL Central race behind Kansas City and Minnesota.
"Our game plan offensively was the opposite of the way he pitched," said Dustan Mohr, who had one of the three hits that left the infield. "He really didn't throw as hard as he normally does. He changed speeds really well."
For the second straight start, Brad Radke (5-7) turned in a decent performance without getting a win -- allowing four earned runs and seven hits in eight innings.
With two outs and two on in the sixth, Valentin doubled home two runs and scored on a throwing error by second baseman Luis Rivas to give the White Sox a 5-0 lead.
An accurate relay throw would have retired Brian Daubach at the plate and kept Chicago's lead at three runs. But it was high and up the line and skipped past catcher Matthew LeCroy, allowing Daubach and Valentin to score.
Gardenhire was upset by the play.
"You could have turned and just lobbed the ball to the guy," he said. "We throw it down the line and into the dugout. That's not ready to play."
Notes: Radke went more than seven innings for the first time since April 24 in Kansas City. ... Paul Konerko subbed for Thomas at first base and went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .188.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.