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Liriano On THe Hill As Twins Try To Re-Capture First Place

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jason Kubel homered and Francisco Liriano worked 5 2/3 effective innings as Minnesota knocked off Chicago, 6-1, in the last of a crucial three-game set.

Orlando Hudson also homered and finished 2-for-4 while Jim Thome added a hit, a walk and a run batted in for the Twins, who moved into first place in the AL Central one game in front of the White Sox after taking two of three in the series.

Liriano (11-7) yielded a lone run on seven hits while walking two and fanning four for Minnesota, which leads the season series, 8-4. Three relievers combined to blank the Chicago the rest of the way, as Minnesota won for the sixth time in its last eight games.

Gavin Floyd (8-9) suffered the loss after allowing all six runs on 10 hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings for the ChiSox, who have dropped four of five.

Hudson's solo home run, his fifth of the year, got the visitors on the board just two batters into the game.

Chicago had loaded the bases in the bottom half with a hit, a walk and a hit batter before A.J. Pierzynski's infield single scored Alex Rios to tie the game. Andruw Jones then flied out to the warning track in center field to end the inning.

Michael Cuddyer started the second inning with a single, stole second base and moved to third on the play when there was nobody at the bag to take the throw from Pierzynski from behind the plate and scored on a Jim Thome sacrifice fly.

Hudson singled with one out in the third, moved to third on a Joe Mauer single and wild pitch and scored on a Danks' balk with two out to make it a 3-1 game.

Liriano managed to escape a huge jam in the fifth as the Sox loaded the bases on a walk to Gordon Beckham and singles by Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez with nobody out. Rios bounced into a force at the plate before Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin struck out as the rally fizzled.

The southpaw hit Beckham to load the bases with one out in the sixth before Pierre flied out to shallow center field. Liriano was then removed from the game and replaced by Matt Guerrier, who got Ramirez to pop up to end the inning.

The missed opportunities proved costly when Alexi Casilla opened the seventh with a double and stayed put after two strikeouts and a walk to Mauer before Kubel clubbed a three-run homer to left to extend the Twins advantage to 6-1.

Game Notes

Minnesota is now 31-17 within the division...The Twins are 19-6 against the White Sox since May of last season and have also won eight of their last nine games at U.S. Cellular Field...Minnesota has won seven of the last eight series between the teams, as well...The Twins are 59-2 when leading after seven innings and 50-17 when scoring first...Liriano is 2-3 in nine games, including six starts, against Chicago with both wins coming this season in three turns...Floyd is 4-6 in 11 career starts against the Twins...Pierre has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games...White Sox rookie third baseman Dayan Viciedo went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats...Chicago went without a home run for the first time in 11 games.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.