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m8382 BC-BBA-Twins-Rays 2ndLd-Writethru 09-21 0503

Liriano pitches seven seven innings in Twins’ win

Eds: Twins 4, Rays 1. UPDATES 4th graf with White Sox winning.

AP Photo SPD103

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Francisco Liriano allowed one run over seven innings to lead the Minnesota Twins past the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 on Sunday.

Minnesota, which got a total of just 6 1-3 innings from its starters during the first three games of the series, split the four-game set with the AL East-leading Rays, who clinched at least a wild-card spot Saturday.

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Liriano (6-3) rebounded from a rough start last Tuesday when the left-hander gave up eight runs over 2 2-3 innings in the Twins’ 12-9 loss to Cleveland. He scattered five hits helping Minnesota complete a long road trip with a 4-6 record.

The Twins remained 2 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox. The White Sox beat Kansas City 3-0. After an off day Monday, the top two teams in the AL Central open a three-game series Tuesday in Minnesota.

Tampa Bay rested several starters, including shortstop Jason Bartlett, second baseman Akinori Iwamura and catcher Dioner Navarro. First baseman Carlos Pena was the designated hitter, while center fielder B.J. Upton started for the first time since straining his left quadriceps on Sept. 8.

The Rays had their AL East-lead over second-place Boston slip to 1 1/2 games. The Red Sox beat Toronto 3-0.

Mike Redmond hit an RBI single, Adam Everett had a run-scoring infield single and Carlos Gomez drove in a run on a bunt single during a four-run fourth that put Minnesota ahead 4-1.

Jose Mijares pitched a perfect eighth and Joe Nathan got the final three outs for his 38th save in 44 opportunties.

The Rays took a 1-0 lead on Pena’s sacrifice fly in the third.

Andy Sonnanstine (13-8) failed for the sixth time to win his 14th game of the season, which would have tied the Tampa Bay record for single-season wins set by Rolando Arrojo in 1998. The right-hander, 0-2 over his last six starts, allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. Notes: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre was among those sending messages of congratulations to Rays manager Joe Maddon after Tampa Bay clinched it’s first-ever playoff spot Saturday. ... Minnesota’s Joe Mauer doubled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Rays LHP David Price, taken first overall in the 2007 amateur draft, will make his first major league start Monday at Baltimore. ... Tampa Bay will skip RHP Matt Garza’s next turn in the rotation. His last start came on short rest. ... Twins 3B Brian Buscher, who jammed his left thumb Wednesday, was back in the starting lineup.

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