Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Francisco Liriano pitched seven innings to win his sixth consecutive decision as the Twins pounded Cliff Lee early and held off Texas, 6-4, to avoid a four-game sweep in a battle of division leaders.
Liriano (12-7) surrendered five hits and two runs while fanning six batters. The left-hander is unbeaten over his last eight starts. Matt Capps pitched the final inning for his sixth save.
Delmon Young belted a three-run homer in the second inning off Lee and Jim Thome went deep in the sixth against Alexi Ogando as the Twins maintained their 3 1/2 game lead on Chicago in the AL Central. The White Sox blew out Baltimore, 8-0, Thursday night.
Lee (10-8) was charged with seven hits and five runs over five frames and suffered his third straight defeat. During that time, the southpaw has been shelled for 26 hits and 19 runs over 18 1/3 innings for an ERA of 9.33.
Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer for the Rangers, who had won their previous four games. They remained 8 1/2 games ahead of Oakland in the AL West, as the A's lost at Cleveland Thursday night.
Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer singled to start the second inning, and, after Thome struck out, Young blasted his 16th homer of the year, a shot to left- center field. It was the fifth homer allowed in the last two games for Lee.
Cuddyer's double to left plated Orlando Hudson and Kubel the next inning for a 5-0 difference, and Thome went deep to center in the sixth for a six-run cushion.
Consecutive singles by Guerrero, Bengie Molina and David Murphy to begin the Texas seventh made it 6-1, and Andres Blanco lifted a sacrifice fly later in the frame.
Matt Guerrier walked Josh Hamilton with two down in the eighth, and Guerrero then blasted his 24th homer of the year. Jesse Crain entered and fanned Molina to end the inning. Capps had a 1-2-3 ninth.
It was the 582nd career homer for Thome, one shy of matching Mark McGwire for ninth place on the all-time list...Lee fell to 8-4 lifetime against the Twins...Guerrero homered for a second straight night and has three in his last five games...Lee fell to 2-5 for Texas since he was acquired from Seattle on July 9...Liriano matched his career-high for victories, set in 2006.