CHICAGO (AP) – Lew Ford and Brent Abernathy each hit a two-run single in the fourth inning to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.

Twins starter Kyle Lohse hung around long enough to earn his first victory since July 2, and Nick Punto had three hits and three stolen bases for Minnesota, which has won four of five.

The White Sox, with the best record in the majors, are looking to take the AL Central title from the Twins, who have won the division the last three seasons. Chicago leads by 12 games over Cleveland, while the Twins are 14 games behind.

Chicago has lost three straight overall and 11 of 17 at home.

White Sox starter Jose Contreras coasted through the first three innings, but the Twins batted around in the fourth, scoring four runs on four hits.

Punto hit a leadoff single and stole second, then Contreras walked Joe Mauer. After a fielder’s choice, Contreras walked Matthew LeCroy, loading the bases. Ford followed with a two-run single to left, scoring Punto and Justin Morneau, who barely beat Juan Uribe’s relay throw to the plate, making it 2-0.

Contreras gave up another single to Michael Ryan, loading the bases again. With two outs, Abernathy, recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, hit a two-run single. Ford scored from second, sliding around A.J. Pierzynski’s tag at the plate to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.

In the fifth, Geoff Blum and Joe Crede hit back-to-back singles off Lohse. With two outs and runners on second and third, Uribe singled to center, scoring Blum. But Crede was thrown out at the plate by Ford from center.

Lohse (8-11) pitched 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. He was backed by strong defense: Shannon Stewart took a home run away from Paul Konerko in the fourth with a leaping catch at the wall in left.

Lohse was winless in his previous seven starts.

Jesse Crain relieved Lohse and pitched 1 2-3 innings. Juan Rincon struck out the side in the eighth, and Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 30th save in 33 chances.

Jermaine Dye had a sacrifice fly for Chicago in the sixth.

Contreras (7-7) lasted 6 2-3 innings in another shaky outing. He allowed four runs and eight hits, struck out five and walked two.

The inconsistent right-hander couldn’t follow up an impressive outing in his last start at Yankee Stadium against his former team. Contreras pitched seven-plus shutout innings against New York, earning the victory.

Notes: The White Sox placed major league steals leader Scott Podsednik on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained muscle in his left leg. To take Podsednik’s spot, Chicago purchased the contract of outfielder Brian Anderson from Triple-A Charlotte. … Twins RF Jacque Jones was out of the lineup for the fourth consecutive game with a right oblique strain. … Before the game, the White Sox played a video tribute on the scoreboard to Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, who died last Thursday and was believed to be the oldest living professional baseball player. He was 103.

AP-ES-08-15-05 2321EDT

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