Originally created 07/27/06

Twins pull even with White Sox for second

CHICAGO - Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer each hit two-run homers, and the surging Minnesota Twins beat plummeting Chicago 7-4 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep and move into a second-place tie with the White Sox.

Minnesota and Chicago trail Detroit by 8 games in the American League Central and are tied atop the AL wild card race. The Twins, who have won 34 of 42, open a three-game series at home against Detroit on Friday.

Cuddyer homered in the first inning, and Morneau broke a 3-3 tie with a long shot to right in the fifth.

The White Sox had been running neck-and-neck with Detroit but have fallen back during a skid in which they've dropped 12 of 15. All-Star left-hander Mark Buehrle (9-9) lost his fifth start in a row, allowing 10 hits and seven runs in 5Q innings.

He left with two runners on in the sixth. Both scored on Nick Punto's single off Brandon McCarthy that made it 7-3.


In Cleveland, rookie Justin Verlander outpitched C.C. Sabathia as Detroit beat Cleveland to continue its domination of the AL Central.

Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run double in the sixth inning to break up the scoreless pitcher's duel.

Verlander (13-4) struck out a career-high eight and allowed one run on five hits and no walks in 6w innings.

Detroit improved to 30-13 against the AL Central and has the best winning percentage (.698) of any club against its division.

Verlander is 6-0 in his past eight starts. He is tied with Boston's Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling, and Toronto's Roy Halladay for the major league lead in wins.

Verlander's only mistake came against rookie Joe Inglett, who hit his first career home run on a 1-0 pitch with two outs in the seventh.

Manager Jim Leyland then quickly pulled the 23-year-old Verlander after 97 pitches. Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save.

Verlander retired nine straight before giving up singles to Casey Blake and Inglett to start the fifth.

He struck out Jhonny Peralta and got Ramon Vazquez to hit into a double play to get out of his only jam.

Sabathia (7-7) went seven innings, giving up four runs and nine hits.

He walked three.


In St. Petersburg, Fla., Juan Rivera hit a pair of two-run doubles, including one during a 10-run second inning as Los Angeles beat Tampa Bay.

Maicer Izturis had two hits and drove in three runs in the second, when the Angels took a 12-4 lead. The 10 runs and nine hits in the inning were season highs for Los Angeles, which sent 15 batters to the plate.

Angels right-hander Bartolo Colon, the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner, left after one inning with right elbow irritation. He allowed four runs and four hits, including homers by Rocco Baldelli and Ty Wigginton.

Kevin Gregg (3-3) replaced him and gave up two runs and four hits in 3q innings for the Angels, who have won 12 of 16 and are 17-5 in July. Gregg departed with one out in the fifth with left knee irritation.


In Oakland, Calif., Frank Thomas homered twice and drove in four runs to help Dan Haren win for the first time in six weeks, and Oakland avoided a three-game sweep.

Thomas hit a home run in the fourth and a three-run shot in the fifth, both off Kyle Snyder, for his 21st and 22nd of the year. It marked the second two-homer game this season for the Big Hurt and 28th of his career. His other came May 22 at Chicago against his former White Sox teammates.

Haren (7-9) pitched seven strong innings to end a seven-start winless stretch and three-start losing streak.

He had lost his past four decisions since beating Seattle on June 14.


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