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White Sox flex their muscles

Konerko belts two HRs as Tigers get pounded

Paul Konerko hit two home runs and Jon Garland pitched seven strong innings to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 7-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers last night at Comerica Park.

The Tigers still have the best record in baseball (62-31) and a 3 1/2-game lead over Chicago in the AL Central, but they are just 1-6 against the World Series champions this season.

``It is one of the nicer ballparks in the league to pitch at, a lot nicer than ours the way the ball jumps out," Garland said. ``We come here ready to play, and we play good."

Chicago broke open the first of a three-game series with two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh -- with Konerko homering in each inning -- giving Garland more than enough run support.

Garland (9-3) allowed 1 run, 6 hits, and 1 walk, striking out five to win his fifth straight decision.

Twins 8, Devil Rays 1 -- Francisco Liriano outclassed fellow young gun Scott Kazmir, allowing three hits over 8 2/3 innings in Minnesota's rout of visiting Tampa Bay.

What was billed as a matchup of two of the best young lefthanders in baseball proved to be no match at all.

Liriano (11-2) struck out seven and received a standing ovation when he took the mound to start the ninth, while Kazmir (10-7) showed plenty of rust in his first start in nine days, allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings, including a towering home run to Justin Morneau in the fourth.

Rangers 5, Blue Jays 2 -- Hank Blalock hit a go-ahead single in a five-run eighth inning to lead Texas over host Toronto.

Texas scored just four runs in the previous four games, but the Rangers rallied from a 2-0 deficit by sending 10 batters to the plate in the eighth.

Athletics 5, Orioles 4 -- Bobby Crosby and Mark Ellis hit consecutive homers, and Oakland scored two runs without a hit in the fourth to take the lead for good at Baltimore.

Oakland managed only five hits, two after the third inning. But the A's took advantage of a throwing error by reliever Eddy Rodriguez to win their AL-high 19th one-run game, including 11 of the last 12.

Braves 14, Cardinals 5 -- Andruw Jones went 5 for 5 with two homers and matched his career high with six RBIs, helping visiting Atlanta become the first team since the 1930 Yankees to score 10 or more runs in five straight games.

Adam LaRoche, Chipper Jones, and Brian McCann also homered for the Braves, who have scored 65 runs during their offensive explosion.

Mets 8, Reds 3 -- Carlos Beltran hit the last of New York's three homers, a seventh-inning grand slam off Eric Milton in a victory over host Cincinnati.

Xavier Nady and Jose Valentin hit solo homers to help righthander Mike Pelfrey improve to 2-0 after two major league starts. The 22-year-old gave up seven singles and a pair of runs in six innings.

Nationals 7, Marlins 6 -- Alex Escobar's RBI single in the ninth capped Washington's rally from a four-run deficit to beat host Florida.

Rockies 13, Pirates 4 -- Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer, Jamie Carroll drove in three runs, and visiting Colorado stopped an eight-game losing streak.

Cubs 4, Astros 2 -- Phil Nevin hit a three-run homer and rookie Carlos Marmol (3-3) allowed one run over six innings to lead host Chicago.

Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 1 -- Nomar Garciaparra doubled, tripled, and drove in a run and Chad Billingsley (1-2) threw seven shutout innings to earn his first major league victory as visiting Los Angeles snapped a five-game losing streak.

Angels 7, Indians 5 -- Joe Saunders (1-0) pitched seven sharp innings and host Los Angeles extended its longest winning streak of the season to eight games, handing Cleveland its fifth straight loss.

Padres 10, Phillies 6 -- Mike Piazza homered for his 1,999th career hit, Mike Cameron hit a two-run shot, and Adrian Gonzalez had three hits to lead host San Diego.

Giants 4, Brewers 3 -- Pinch hitter Moises Alou hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth to help Jamey Wright (6-8) win for the first time in nearly two months as host San Francisco ended a three-game losing streak.

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