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Updated: June 25th, 2012 10:12pm
Twins beat White Sox with help from another solid outing by Liriano

Twins beat White Sox with help from another solid outing by Liriano

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Behind another solid pitching performance by Francisco Liriano, the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 4-1 in the opener of a three-game series on Monday night.

The skinny

It seems maybe manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson can finally uncover their eyes when Liriano pitches.

Liriano shut down the White Sox for seven innings, allowing only one run on four hits and two walks while striking out five. The seven-inning outing for Liriano was his longest in 16 starts dating back to Aug. 20 of last season.

The left-hander now owns a 2.41 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 14 walks in 37 1/3 innings since returning to the starting rotation on May 30.

A sac fly by Joe Mauer put the Twins up 1-0 in the first inning. Mauer drove home Denard Span, who led the game off with a double.

In the second inning, Brian Dozier's single to right field advanced Trevor Plouffe from first to third base. Right fielder Alex Rios' throw skipped past newly-acquired third baseman Kevin Youkilis allowing Plouffe to score and Dozier to reach third base. Another double by Span drove home Dozier with two outs to put the Twins up 3-0.

Plouffe added a sac fly in the bottom of the seventh to make it 4-1.

Glen Perkins pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Jared Burton pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season.

Mauer finished 3-for-4 with three singles, raising his batting line to .323/.419/.440. Ben Revere recorded his second four-hit game in less than a week, raising his batting line to .331/.353/.387.

Turning point

Liriano pitching out of a seventh-inning jam stopped the White Sox from capitalizing on their best scoring chance of the night.

Liriano entered the frame having thrown only 80 pitches, but he ran into immediate trouble when Alex Rios led off with a double down the left-field line. A walk to Dayan Viciedo two batters later put runners on the corners with only one out, but Liriano managed to work his way out of the inning allowing only a sacrifice fly.

"That was a huge inning to get through that thing," Gardenhire said. "I wanted to leave him out there and see how he did, and he did fine. ...

"I just have a lot of confidence in him. It had nothing to do with who was warming up. I told (Rick Anderson), 'I think he can get through this, let's let him work his way through it.' And he did. He made some good pitches."

Numbers game

4: Strikeouts by Adam Dunn, who came into the game with a league-leading 115.

14: Whiffs induced by Liriano on 43 Chicago swings, marking the sixth straight start in which he has induced at least 12 swings and misses.

1: Single in four at-bats for Youkilis in his White Sox debut.

Health report

• RHP Matt Capps (shoulder) was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday morning. Capps was expected to receive a cortisone shot Monday night, and he hopes to resume throwing sometime next week.

• RHP P.J. Walters (shoulder) is expected to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. He is eligible to come off the disabled list later this week, and with a doubleheader looming Saturday it's possible he could be able to help the Twins this weekend.

Overheard

"Frankie was really good. He battled his tail off. As they say on the internet, that's what I say all the time, so I know you love that. ... But he did."
-- Gardenhire

On deck

Tuesday: vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. RHP Liam Hendriks (0-4, 7.39) vs. RHP Gavin Floyd (5-7, 5.20)
Wednesday: vs. White Sox, 12:10 p.m., RHP Nick Blackburn (4-4, 7.45) vs. LHP Chris Sale (8-2, 2.24)
Thursday: Off day

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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