White Sox 4, Twins 3

A battery made up of former Twins once traded for one another

teamed up to beat their old team Tuesday night.

A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning and

the Chicago White Sox held on to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3.

After Alex Rios singled off Jeff Gray (5-1), Pierzynski hit a

0-2 hanging slider into the right field bleachers for his second

homer in as many nights after missing five games with a right

oblique strain.

”I figure I gave `em one yesterday, maybe I could try to get

one back for us today,” said Pierzynski, whose ninth inning

throwing error Monday led to Minnesota’s winning run.

In his first start with the White Sox, Francisco Liriano, who

was traded from Minnesota to Chicago late Saturday for infielder

Eduardo Escobar and left-hander Pedro Hernandez, allowed two earned

runs and four hits in six innings.

”It’s just another game for me. I just tried to go out there

and make some good pitches,” he said.

With his fastball regularly in the low-to-mid 90s and his slider

and changeup staying away from Minnesota hitters, Liriano walked

four and struck out eight, including Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham

twice each.

Mauer was caught looking at an inside pitch with two runners in

scoring position in the third, leading the All-Star catcher to

exchange words with home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski.

”Minnesota got a dose of what we’ve been facing for the last

seven years and how hard he is to hit,” said Pierzynski, who was

dealt to San Francisco in exchange for Liriano, Joe Nathan and Boof

Bonser in November 2003. ”It was a good night for him.”

Although the Twins were getting deep in the count, Liriano

allowed just two hits through five innings before the Twins got to

him for two runs in the sixth.

With one out, Darin Mastroianni hit a dribbler up the first base

line and stole second and third. Walks to Mauer and Willingham

loaded the bases for Justin Morneau, who hit a chopper to first

base. Paul Konerko fielded the ball, but failed to step on the bag

for the forceout and his throw home was wide of the plate, allowing

Mastroianni to score.

Valencia followed with a single that was stopped by a diving

Alexei Ramirez at shortstop, but he could not make a throw. Brian

Dozier nearly hit a grand slam the next at-bat, but the ball was

caught on the warning track by Dayan Viciedo in left field.

An RBI single by Ramirez scored Pierzynski to tie the game 2-2

in the seventh.

Matt Thornton (3-6) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the win. Chicago

is now 2 1/2 games up on Detroit in the AL Central.

Addison Reed allowed an RBI single to Denard Span in the bottom

of the ninth, but still earned his 17th save in 20 chances.

Span, who was openly worried about being traded and expressed

relief once the deadline passed, had four hits for the Twins, whose

win streak was snapped at four.

”I feel all right now. Ready to go home and relax. It’s been a

long 48 hours for me but I know where I’m going to be at, at least

for now,” he said.

There was polite applause from the fans when Liriano’s name was

announced and the crowd had no reaction when Liriano came out for

the bottom of the first.

Liriano came in with a 50-52 record and 4.33 ERA in his career.

But so much more was expected of the enigmatic left-hander, who

went 12-3 in 2006 as a rookie with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts in

121 innings. However, he underwent reconstructive elbow surgery

later that year and has been inconsistent since.

Liriano had a 9.45 ERA in six starts this year before being

demoted to the bullpen in early May. After being put back in the

rotation out of necessity late that month for the injury-plagued

Twins, Liriano allowed three runs or less in eight of 11 starts

while showing glimpses of his former dominance – including games

with 10 and 15 strikeouts in July.

”He was doing what we got him to do,” said Chicago manager

Robin Ventura. ”He came out and pitched well even though the

circumstances were probably a little odd for him.”

Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn allowed two earned runs and

five hits in eight innings. Six days earlier against Chicago,

Blackburn allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits over 4 1-3 innings

in a losing effort.

It was just the second time in eight starts that Blackburn

allowed fewer than four runs.

”That’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” he said. ”I was

finally out there relaxed a little bit, and let the ball move

around. Unfortunately, we didn’t pull that one off, but, obviously,

I’m pretty pleased with the way everything went for me

tonight.”

Rios scored on a sacrifice fly by Viciedo to give Chicago a 1-0

lead in the second inning.

NOTES: Chicago LHP John Danks is done for the season and is

scheduled to have exploratory surgery Monday to find out what is

causing his left shoulder strain. … After trading Liriano late

Saturday night, the Twins let the non-waiver deadline pass Tuesday

afternoon without another deal. GM Terry Ryan said he wasn’t really

close, either, but that the inaction didn’t disappoint him. ”I’d

be more disappointed if we made a bad trade,” said Ryan, who

focused his search on starting pitchers. … Minnesota’s Scott

Diamond (9-4, 2.88 ERA) is scheduled to face Chicago’s Jake Peavy

(8-7, 3.15) in Wednesday’s series finale.