(Sports Network) – Joe Mauer had two hits, including a big two-run single in the eighth inning, as the Minnesota Twins held on for a 7-4 victory and snapped Chicago’s nine-game win streak.
Francisco Liriano (7-7) pitched 7 2/3 effective innings for the Twins, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight. It was a good rebound start from last Friday, when Liriano gave up seven runs in less than two innings against Detroit.
Mauer ended up providing the game-deciding runs in the eighth. His hit, along with an RBI single by Michael Cuddyer, gave the Twins a 7-2 lead heading to the ninth.
The White Sox rallied for two runs off Minnesota closer Jon Rauch, but Jesse Crain entered to record the final two outs and get his first save since 2006.
J.J. Hardy went 3-for-4 with a double and RBI for the Twins, who lost Thursday in the opener of this four-game series. Cuddyer and Orlando Hudson each added two hits.
“Very exciting baseball game,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “Liriano was super, [he] was just exactly what we needed.”
Gavin Floyd (5-8) took the loss after allowing four runs in five innings. However, only one of those runs was earned as the White Sox committed four errors. Floyd, who had won his last three starts, allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out five.
Gordon Beckham went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI for Chicago, which took its first loss since July 3.
The Twins surged in front in the fourth inning. A fielding error on third baseman Dayan Viciedo allowed Delmon Young to be safe at first, which loaded the bases with one away. Hardy followed with a single to center to get a run in before Nick Punto struck out.
But the inning kept going when Denard Span hit an infield single to second. The hit plated a run, and Beckham’s throwing error on the play allowed Young to score. Hudson made it a 4-0 game with an RBI single before Floyd retired Mauer on a fly out to escape the inning.
Juan Pierre’s RBI single in the fifth got Chicago on the board, and in the eighth, Paul Konerko plated a run with a two-out double. Liriano was pulled after that at-bat, while Matt Guerrier came in and got the final out.
The Twins then increased their lead in the home half after loading the bases with one out against Tony Pena. Mauer’s single to center got two home and chased Pena, who was replaced on the mound by Scott Linebrink. One out later, Cuddyer hit an RBI single to left.
In the top of the ninth, Beckham came to the plate with runners on first and second with one out, and singled to right to get the White Sox within 7-3. Rauch then walked Pierre to load the bases, and issued another walk to Alexei Ramirez to force in a run.
Crain was brought into the tough spot, but retired Alex Rios on a fly ball before fanning Konerko to end the game.
“It’s a testament to the way we’re playing, our confidence that we’re never out of any game,” Beckham said of the rally. “Even after the bottom of the eighth we fought pretty hard to stay in it in the ninth. We didn’t come through, but it’s tough to score that many runs in the ninth inning.”
Liriano got his first win since June 11…The save was just the third of Crain’s career…Chicago right fielder Carlos Quentin was scratched from the lineup because of a bruised right hand.