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Twins down Sox, up lead to 1 1/2 games

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Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski gives pat on head to reliever LaTroy Hawkins after win over White Sox.

Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski gives pat on head to reliever LaTroy Hawkins after win over White Sox.

Jim Mone, Associated Press

Chicago White Sox manager Jerry Manuel flip-flopped Jon Garland and Esteban Loaiza in the starting rotation.

But Loaiza just flopped in the opener of a key three-game series with the Minnesota Twins.

Brad Radke beat Loaiza for the second time in six days as the Twins stretched their AL Central lead over the White Sox to 1 1/2 games with a 5-2 victory Tuesday.

"It seems like every time you need a big start out of him, he comes in and does the job," Minnesota catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of Radke, who won his fifth straight decision.

Loaiza, fighting the flu, couldn't find the plate. He walked a season-high five in 2 1-3 innings — his shortest start of the year.

The Twins, who clinched the division on Sept. 15 last season, have been alone in first place for two straight days — the first time that's happened since June 22-23. A win in at least one of the next two against Chicago, and Minnesota should have the edge with seven of its final nine against lowly Detroit.

BLUE JAYS 6, TIGERS 6: At Detroit, Frank Catalanotto singled home the go-ahead run in a four-run seventh, and Detroit lost its 112th game.

Detroit (38-112), which has dropped four straight, moved within five of the AL record for losses, set by the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics (36-117). The Tigers need five or more wins in their last 12 games to avoid the post-1900 major league mark, set by the 1962 Mets.

Jason Kershner (2-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Nate Cornejo (6-16) allowed six runs — five earned — and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.

YANKEES 6, ORIOLES 3: At Baltimore, Roger Clemens (15-9) moved into a tie for 17th place on the career victory list with Hoss Radbourn at 308, allowing three runs — two earned — and seven hits in seven innings.

Alfonso Soriano hit his third homer in two nights and Hideki Matsui drove in three runs for the Yankees, who maintained their 5 1/2-game lead over second-place Boston in the AL East.

Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 38th save. New York went up 4-1 with a three-run sixth against Jason Johnson (10-8).

RED SOX 3, DEVIL RAYS 2: At Boston, Pedro Martinez (13-4) pitched a six-hitter for his 100th win with Boston, which opened a 2 1/2-game lead over Seattle in the wild-card race.

Martinez, in his sixth year with the Red Sox, struck out six and walked one in his second complete game this season.

With the score 1-all in the eighth, Nomar Garciaparra doubled off Travis Harper (4-8), David Ortiz hit an RBI single against Joe Kennedy and Bill Mueller added a sacrifice fly.

With the potential tying run on second with two outs in the ninth, Julio Lugo popped out.

RANGERS 10, MARINERS 5: At Arlington, Texas, Alex Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 44th homer, his fifth in six games, and rookie Laynce Nix homered twice.

Hank Blalock had a three-run homer for Texas, which opened a 9-0 lead in the fourth. Seattle has lost three straight and is 6-8 in September.

Gil Meche (15-11) allowed eight runs and seven hits — four of them homers — in 2 1/3 innings. John Thomson (13-13) gave up three runs and nine hits in eight innings.

ANGELS 6, ATHLETICS 5: At Anaheim, Calif., Scott Spiezio hit a three-run homer with one out in the ninth to give the Angels a 6-5 victory over the Athletics.

Spiezio's 16th home run, on the first pitch he saw from Jim Mecir, ended Oakland's seven-game winning streak.

ROYALS 12, INDIANS 8: At Cleveland, Joe Randa and Rondell White hit three-run homers for Kansas City, which led 6-0 in the second. After Cleveland closed to 6-4, the Royals scored five runs in the fourth.

Darrell May (9-7) struck out a season-high eight in 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs — only one earned — and seven hits.

Rookie Billy Traber (6-9) gave up six runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings, his shortest start this season.

Angel Berroa had a career high five hits, going 5-for-5.