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Sox Look To Start New Winning Streak Tonight Against Twins

(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Twins will try to make up some more ground on the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, as the teams continue a four-game set tonight at Target Field.

Last night, Joe Mauer had two hits, including a big two-run single in the eighth inning, as the Twins held on for a 7-4 victory and snapped Chicago's nine-game win streak.

J.J. Hardy went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI for the Twins, who lost Thursday in the opener of this four-game series and trail the White Sox by 3 1/2 games in the division. Michael Cuddyer and Orlando Hudson each added two hits.

Francisco Liriano (7-7) pitched 7 2/3 effective innings for the Twins, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight. It was a good rebound start from last Friday, when Liriano permitted seven runs in less than two innings against Detroit.

The White Sox rallied for two runs off Minnesota closer Jon Rauch, but Jesse Crain entered to record the final two outs and get his first save since 2006.

"Very exciting baseball game," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "Liriano was super, [he] was just exactly what we needed."

Gavin Floyd (5-8) took the loss after allowing four runs in five innings. However, only one of those runs was earned as the White Sox committed four errors. Floyd, who had won his last three starts, allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out five.

Gordon Beckham went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Chicago, which took its first loss since July 3.

The White Sox will turn to Mark Buehrle to get them back on track tonight. The veteran left-hander has had good success of late, going 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA over his last six outings. He last started on July 9th, when he tossed seven scoreless innings in an 8-2 triumph over Kansas City.

Buehrle has made 44 career appearances - 42 starts - against the Twins, going 24-16 with a 4.10 ERA and four complete games. In his last appearance against Minnesota on April 11th, Buehrle picked up the win after allowing four runs and eight hits over eight innings of a 5-4 result.

Opposing Buehrle and Chicago will be Carl Pavano, who has won five consecutive decisions. In his last start on July 11th, the right-hander gave up three earned runs and six hits over 7 2/3 innings of a 6-3 victory over Detroit.

In six career starts versus the White Sox, Pavano is 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA and a pair of complete games shutouts. He faced Chicago on May 12th at home and earned the 3-2 victory by holding the White Sox to just two earned runs and six hits over seven innings of work.

The Twins went 12-6 versus the White Sox last year, winning seven of nine at home between the teams, and they have won four of seven meetings so far in 2010.