CHICAGO (AP) — Minnesota's pursuit of the Detroit Tigers got a big boost when the Twins swept three games against the Chicago White Sox to start a challenging 10-game road trip.
Now the Twins are hoping Chicago will again help them out when the AL Central-leading Tigers visit U.S. Cellular Field for a three-game series beginning Friday.
"We won our games and we also got a couple of (White Sox) guys hot so they can go play Detroit," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after his team's 8-6 win over Chicago on Wednesday night. "Jermaine Dye, we put him on the right track. Now maybe he can take care of the Motown guys."
Dye, who entered the game in a 12-for-93 slump, had a single and two homers, the first of which ended a 58-game homerless streak. That wasn't enough for the defending AL Central champion White Sox, who can be eliminated from the playoff race if they lose to the Tigers on Friday.
Nick Punto drove in three runs and Brian Duensking won his fifth straight decision for the Twins, who trail Detroit by 2 1/2 games. Minnesota plays three in Kansas City before going to Detroit for a four-game series beginning Monday.
"We're just going out there and try to chase the Tigers," Punto said.
"This is the reason we play baseball. Anytime you play baseball in September, it means something. That's what it's all about."
Duensing (5-1), who is 5-0 in his last seven starts, entered the game with a 13 1-3-innings scoreless streak spanning his two previous outings. He allowed a run in the fourth on Carlos Quentin's two-out RBI single that cut Minnesota's lead to 5-1.
Duensing gave up nine hits and four runs — three earned — in 5 2-3 innings. Joe Nathan, the Twins' fourth reliever, pitched a shaky ninth for his 44th save.
The Twins, who scored 23 runs in the three-game series, knocked out Chicago ace Mark Buehrle (12-10) after 3 1-3 innings. Buehrle, 1-7 in 12 starts since pitching a perfect game on July 23, gave up eight hits and was charged with five runs, four earned.
The White Sox were tied for first place after Buehrle's gem and never got back on top.
"It's always disappointing when you look up and you lose games and you have an under .500 record and you have no chance of going to the postseason," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "It's very frustrating and it all stinks. ... Just losing gets old after a while. You try to do everything in your power, but it seems like something bad got in this team."Yankees 3, Angels 2
At Anaheim, Calif., A.J. Burnett struck out 11 in his second win since July, and New York won a series at Anaheim for the first time since May 2004.
Burnett (12-9) allowed seven hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings for the Yankees, who are already assured of a playoff berth and reduced their magic number in the AL East to five.
Scott Kazmir (9-9) gave up six hits and three walks over six innings.Red Sox 9, Royals 2
At Kansas City, Mo., David Ortiz homered and drove in four runs, and Josh Beckett allowed two runs over six innings.
Jason Bay and Jacoby Ellsbury each drove in two runs and Ortiz had a run-scoring single in Boston's six-run fifth inning off Luke Hochevar (7-11).
Beckett (16-6) limited the damage from 12 hits with seven strikeouts, improving to 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA in seven career starts against Kansas City.Tigers 11, Indians 3
At Cleveland, Carlos Guillen hit two of Detroit's three home runs and the Tigers sent the Indians to their season-high 10th straight loss.
Rick Porcello (14-9) allowed one run and six hits over five innings to help the Tigers maintain their 2½-game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central.Blue Jays 7, Orioles 3
At Toronto, Travis Snider homered and had two RBIs and Scott Richmond won for the first time since June 24.
Richmond (7-10) allowed three runs and five hits in five innings to win for the first time in 10 starts. The rookie, 0-6 since beating Cincinnati on June 24, walked four and struck out two.
Baltimore lost its season-high seventh straight and fell to 1-8 in Toronto this season.Rays 5, Mariners 4
At St. Peterbsurg, Fla., B.J. Upton had three RBIs, including a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth.
Akinori Iwamura had two RBIs for the Rays, 6-3 since an 11-game losing skid. The defending AL champions, eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday, need to win four of their final 10 games to record a second-ever over .500 season.Rangers 9, Athletics 8
At Oakland, Calif., Hank Blalock homered and drove in four runs, and David Murphy and Marlon Byrd each added a pair of RBIs as the Rangers won for the third time in 10 games.
Nelson Cruz also drove in a run for Texas, which trails Boston by seven games for the AL wild card and the Angels by 6½ in the AL West.
Eric Patterson hit a home run and Cliff Pennington drove in two runs for the A's, who lost for the third time in 11 games.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
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