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Twins trade for Washington closer Capps

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Minnesota Twins moved to strengthen their bullpen for a postseason push by acquiring All-Star closer Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals on Thursday, Major League Baseball's website mlb.com reported.

"We've had an interest in Matt Capps for a long time," Twins general manager Bill Smith said. "It gives us a better chance to win the division and hopefully advance to the World Series."

Capps, 26, has recorded 26 saves in 30 opportunities and posted a 2.47 earned run average.

The Twins (56-46) trail the Chicago White Sox by 1- games in the American League Central division.

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said Capps would take over as the Twins' closer and Jon Rauch, who had been filling in for the injured Joe Nathan, would return to a setup role.

Rauch converted 21 of 25 save chances, but slipped recently, posting a 5.40 ERA over nine appearances in July.

(Writing by Larry Fine, Editing by Greg Stutchbury)