CHICAGO – Jason Kubel hit a three-run home run and Francisco Liriano pitched in and out of trouble to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 6-1 and move into first place in the American League Central on Thursday night.
Orlando Hudson also added a solo homer for the Twins, who took two of three games from their division rivals to move one game ahead in the division. The Twins also finished a 10-game road trip with a 6-4 record.
The White Sox, who won their last seven straight series at home, lost their first series at U.S. Cellular Field since the Indians took two out of three game from the White Sox on June 4-6.
Liriano (11-7) allowed one run and pitched around seven hits with four strikeouts. He pitched his best when he was in several jams.
The White Sox loaded the bases with no outs for the middle of their order in the fifth, but Liriano still escaped unscathed. Alex Rios hit a comebacker to the pitcher, who threw to Joe Mauer at the plate for the force. Liriano then struck out Paul Konerko on three pitches and finished off the inning by getting Carlos Quentin swinging.
The White Sox threaten again in the sixth. They loaded the bases with one out for the top of their order. Liriano got Juan Pierre to line out to shallow center. Then Twins manager Ron Gardenhire went with reliever Matt Guerrier to finish up the inning, who got Alexei Ramirez to hit an infield pop out.
White Sox starter Gavin Floyd (8-9) allowed six runs on 10 hits and was done in on an 0-2 pitch to Kubel. Trailing 3-1 in the seventh with first base open and two outs, Floyd pitched around Mauer, to get to Kubel. Floyd got ahead of Kubel, but on his 125th pitch, Floyd hung a curve that Kubel hit over the left-field wall to give the Twins a 6-1 lead.
With one out in the first, Hudson homered on a 3-2 pitch to center.
Rios singled with two outs in the first inning and Konerko walked. Quentin was hit for the third time in the series to load the bases. Pierzynski followed with a weak roller down third-base line for an infield hit to score Rios.
Michael Cuddyer led off the second inning with a single. With the infield shift on during Jim Thome's at-bat, Cuddyer stole second and went to third after catcher A.J. Pierzynski's throw went into center because the shortstop Ramirez didn't cover second. Cuddyer then scored on Thome's sacrifice fly.
In the third inning, Hudson and Mauer hit back-to-back singles with one out and advanced to second and third on Floyd's wild pitch. One out later, during Cuddyer's at bat, Floyd started his windup to the stopped, resulting in a balk call by home plate umpire Tim Welke to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.