CHICAGO - If the Minnesota Twins couldn't win the AL Central title at home, Chicago was the next-best place for a party.
Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie each hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and the Twins clinched their third straight division crown on their main rivals' home turf, beating the Chicago White Sox 8-2 Monday night.
Henry Blanco and Luis Rivas also homered. When Timo Perez popped out to shortstop Cristian Guzman for the final out, the Twins rushed onto the field for hugs and handshakes at second base.
The scoreboard flashed congratulations to the Twins. It's the first time Minnesota has won three straight division titles in its 44-year history.
In Miami, the Chicago Cubs' 24-hour visit to Miami included a brief stay atop the NL wild card standings. Then they lost their lead because they couldn't beat David Weathers.
The journeyman right-hander, making his first start in six years, limited Chicago to two hits and one run in five innings, and the Florida Marlins won Game 2 for a doubleheader split.
Mark Prior allowed just five hits in 7w innings and outpitched Carl Pavano in the opener to help the Cubs win.
With the victory in Game 1, Chicago climbed one percentage point ahead of San Francisco in the wild-card race. But the Cubs ended the day where they started: a half-game behind the idle Giants.
In Detroit, Mike Maroth pitched splendidly into the seventh, and Dmitri Young and Brandon Inge homered to give the Detroit Tigers a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.
Maroth (11-11) pitched 6w scoreless innings, allowing six hits.
In St. Petersburg, Fla., Calvin Pickering hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift Kansas City to victory..
Brian Anderson (5-11) allowed three runs and seven hits over 7w innings to win his third straight decision.
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