KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The magic number is five.
The dream number is three.
The Sox maintained their 21/2-game division lead, which they will carry into a three-game showdown at second-place Minnesota starting Tuesday night.
"Everything happens for a reason, so it's a good time to go in there and battle for it," catcher Toby Hall said.
The Sox are only 1-5 at the Metrodome this season, but a three-game sweep would secure their second division title in four seasons.
"If we have a bad series, I don't think it's the end of anything," said first baseman Paul Konerko, who hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning. "But if we have a good one, that should do it. That's our goal."
Manager Ozzie Guillen said the intensity that was displayed in the first inning Sunday must continue.
"If I have to be on their [tails], I will be on their [tails]," Guillen said. "I'm not scared. We've been through it. We won the world championship with a lot of guys out there and they shouldn't be scared.
"You're world champions for a reason. ... I don't think the kids are going to be scared. We've got to beat the [heck] out of them and have the last laugh."
Guillen maintained he respects the Twins and is careful not to talk about any specific postseason plans until the Sox officially clinch the division title.
"I like the way they play," he said. "But we've got to make sure we're mean and show them we're going to kick their [rears] as soon as we walk in."
Dewayne Wise set the tone in the first when he had a one-out single and sped to third on Jermaine Dye's single to left.
Wise alertly tagged and scored on Jim Thome's shallow fly to left that shortstop Mike Aviles caught with his back to the infield. Wise's hustle prompted Guillen to pump his fist in the dugout.
"It kind of motivated us early to keep going," Wise said.
John Danks, pitching for the first time in six days, won for the first time since Aug. 16 and might have discovered his second wind. Danks extended his scoreless-innings streak to 13, blanking the Royals through seven-plus innings.
For the second consecutive start, Danks scattered four hits and walked only one. He retired 11 consecutive batters at one point.
"Right now, I'm pretty happy," Guillen said. "It's how we finish this trip that is more important. I think we're ready. Mentally, these guys should be prepared to go out and play hard and play well. That's all you can do.
"And make sure you grab a big net and get those piranhas (the Twins) and put some poison in the water to make their teeth fall out."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun