Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie each hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and the Minnesota Twins clinched their third straight AL Central crown in Chicago with an 8-2 triumph over the White Sox.

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.

"Every year we've got to go out there and prove [ourselves] to somebody," Hunter said. "But you know what? I like it.

"We're the underdogs, and we've got something to prove every day. That's our motivation, to go out there and prove people wrong."

The loss officially eliminated the White Sox from the playoff race. They have lost seven in a row to Minnesota.

Carlos Silva (13-8) had a shutout going until the seventh, when Jose Valentin hit a two-run homer. Silva scattered seven hits over seven innings to win his third straight start.

Mark Buehrle (14-10) got hit hard in losing his second straight start, both to the Twins. He gave up seven runs, four of them homers, and 10 hits in eight-plus innings. He has allowed a career-high 32 home runs this season.

Since the all-star break, the Twins are 41-22. They've won 11 of their last 13 games.

"They do all the things we don't seem to do," Buehrle said.

* BLUE JAYS 6, YANKEES 3: Gustavo Chacin became the first left-handed starter to win his major league debut against New York in the Joe Torre era, pitching visiting Toronto to victory.

After a 19-2 record in the minors and fresh off a playoff win at Class AA, Chacin held the AL East leaders to a four hits before leaving in the eighth inning. Despite the loss, the Yankees remain 41/2 games ahead of Boston, which lost to Baltimore.

Chacin struck out two and walked three. Russ Adams led off the game with a home run against Javier Vazquez (14-10), and later added a two-run single.

* ANGELS 5, MARINERS 2: Dallas McPherson had three hits and an RBI in his first major league start to help host Anaheim close within 21/2 games of Oakland in the AL West.

The Angels' Vladimir Guerrero was hit in the head by a pitch in the first inning and left the game. X-rays were normal, and he returned to the dugout during the game. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki had two hits, giving him 238 for the year, 19 short of George Sisler's major league record with 12 games remaining.

* TIGERS 3, INDIANS 1: In Detroit, Mike Maroth pitched 62/3 scoreless innings, and Dmitri Young and Brandon Inge homered to spark the Tigers.

* ROYALS 6, DEVIL RAYS 3: Calvin Pickering hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth to lift Kansas City to a road win. Brian Anderson (5-11) allowed three runs and seven hits over 72/3 innings to win his third straight decision.

Minnesota's Torii Hunter is congratulated by third base coach Al Newman after hitting 2-run homer in 1st inning in Chicago.