(Sports Network) – J.J. Hardy drove in the decisive run in a two- run seventh, and the Minnesota Twins distanced themselves from the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central with a pivotal 9-3 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
Hardy finished with two doubles and scored a run for the Twins, who now lead the White Sox by seven games with 18 to play. A key to that commanding lead is the 11-5 record Minnesota has against Chicago, including eight of the last 10 between the clubs.
Joe Mauer added three hits to raise his career total to 1,002, and Denard Span drove in four runs. Delmon Young added a homer and scored twice in the victory.
Francisco Liriano (14-7) won his eighth consecutive decision after allowing three runs, six hits and three walks while fanning seven in six innings.
Alexei Ramirez had two hits and two RBI for the White Sox, who have lost five of seven to damage their playoff hopes. John Danks (13-11) lost for the third time in four starts after yielding four runs and nine hits in seven frames.