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Twins beat Texas and Cliff Lee, 6-4

Francisco Liriano pitched seven innings to win his sixth consecutive decision as the Twins pounded Cliff Lee early and held off Texas, 6-4, to avoid a four-game sweep in a battle of division leaders.

Liriano (12-7) surrendered five hits and two runs while fanning six batters. The left-hander is unbeaten over his last eight starts. Matt Capps pitched the final inning for his sixth save.

Delmon Young belted a three-run homer in the second inning off Lee and Jim Thome went deep in the sixth against Alexi Ogando as the Twins maintained their 3 1/2 game lead on Chicago in the AL Central. The White Sox blew out Baltimore, 8-0, Thursday night.

Lee (10-8) was charged with seven hits and five runs over five frames and suffered his third straight defeat. During that time, the southpaw has been shelled for 26 hits and 19 runs over 18 1/3 innings for an ERA of 7.25.

Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer for the Rangers, who had won their previous four games. They remained 8 1/2 games ahead of Oakland in the AL West, as the A’s lost at Cleveland Thursday night.

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