2005: Santana (and Nathan) shut out the White Sox

August 23, 2005

LEN3’s game story from the first of a three-game series:

Johan Santana was brilliant Tuesday night.

Freddy Garcia was nearly unhittable.

But Jacque Jones was heroic.

Jones, with his last swing before leaving town to attend a funeral for his uncle, belted a long home run to center field for the Twins’ first and only hit of the game, giving them a thrilling 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox at the Metrodome.

Garcia pushed for the first White Sox no-hitter since 1991, but his 1-2 curveball hung in Jones’ kitchen. And Jones didn’t miss it, stroking it 423 feet to center as the announced crowd of 33,572 erupted.

“I think that’s what you and I believe, what every fan out there was waiting for,” said Santana, who held the White Sox to three hits over eight shutout innings. “It seemed like that was the way this game was going to end up. Fortunately, it was for us.”

Jones learned during the weekend that his uncle had died, and the right fielder will miss two games to attend the funeral.

He said he did not play with a heavy heart Tuesday, but pointed toward the sky as he touched home plate after his homer.

“When you get on the field, everything goes out the door,” Jones said. “I just have to play. I owe it to these guys. I owe it to myself. None of that outside stuff matters once you cross the line.”

The crowd stayed on its feet for the ninth inning as closer Joe Nathan, who only took about 10 warmup pitches instead of his normal 20 to 25, earned his 32nd save.

“When I was out there in the ninth,” Nathan said, “it was definitely the loudest I’ve heard it here.”

It was the second loss in Chicago’s 106-year history while throwing a one-hitter. It was the second time in Twins history that they’ve won with only one hit: The first was on Sept. 6, 1964, when Zoilo Versalles homered off Boston’s Bill Monbouquette for a 2-1 victory.

I vividly remember watching this game on television- it was one of the few highlights of a tough 2005 season. The pattern had been established by the Twins that year: waste good or great pitching performances  by avoiding runs at all cost. I was convinced that the White Sox would win this game.

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