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Twins edge White Sox in 11

Nick Punto hit an RBI single with two outs in the 11th inning and the host Minnesota Twins increased their American League wild-card lead to 1 1/2 games by beating the Chicago White Sox, 8-7, last night.

Jermaine Dye's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Twins closer Joe Nathan tied it at 7, but the Twins used a small-ball approach to push across the winner against Matt Thornton (4-2).

Pinch hitter Lew Ford led off the 11th with a single, moved to second on Jason Bartlett's sacrifice, and to third on Luis Castillo's grounder. Punto then hit the ball the other way past diving Chicago first baseman Ross Gload to score Ford.

Willie Eyre (1-0) pitched two innings for the win after Nathan blew just his second save in 29 chances. Dye's 38th homer followed a single by Tadahito Iguchi, who moved to second on an error.

The Twins have won 9 of 12 and moved to within four games of Detroit in the AL Central. Chicago has dropped 8 of 12.

Minnesota drove struggling Chicago starter Jose Contreras out after 2 2/3 innings, after giving up five runs and seven hits. In his last three starts, he has surrendered 27 hits and 19 runs in 14 1 1/3 innings. ``I've never seen Jose worse than that," manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``I'm worried about him now."

Angels 12, Yankees 7 -- Howie Kendrick went 4 for 4 with a tiebreaking homer, Garret Anderson homered and drove in four runs, and host Los Angeles beat slumping Alex Rodriguez and New York.

Ervin Santana (13-6) allowed five runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings, good enough to help send the AL East-leading Yankees to their fourth loss in five games following their five-game sweep at Boston.

Yankees manager Joe Torre tweaked his batting order, putting Rodriguez in the second spot for the first time this season. The two-time MVP went 0 for 5 and struck out three times.

Indians 8, Tigers 5 -- Rookie Joe Inglett's two-run triple off Justin Verlander highlighted the Indians' six-run fifth inning that sent host Cleveland past suddenly reeling Detroit, which has lost four straight.

The Tigers have now lost 7 of 9 and dropped to 5-13 since Aug. 9.

Royals 2, Blue Jays 0 -- Runelvys Hernandez outpitched Roy Halladay for his first career shutout, leading visiting Kansas City. Hernandez (4-8) allowed seven hits in his eighth start since being recalled from the minors.

Halladay (16-4) lost despite pitching a four-hit complete game.

Astros 7, Pirates 4 -- Andy Pettitte (12-13) pitched six effective innings to improve to 6-1 in his career against Pittsburgh, and visiting Houston won consecutive games for the first time in more than two weeks.

Giants 4, Reds 1 -- Shea Hillenbrand homered for the second straight game for No. 100 in his career and Noah Lowry won back-to-back starts for the first time all season, leading host San Francisco.

Cardinals 2, Cubs 1 -- Chris Carpenter pitched eight sharp innings before leaving because of cramping, and seldom-used Gary Bennett hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth to lift host St. Louis.

Mets 11, Phillies 5 -- Shawn Green delivered his first big hit for his new team, a go-ahead double during a seven-run rally in the seventh inning that sent host New York over Philadelphia.

Marlins 7, Brewers 2 -- Dontrelle Willis (9-10) earned back-to-back victories for only the second time this season, pitching seven innings to help host Florida win its sixth straight game.

Orioles 3, Devil Rays 2 -- Ramon Hernandez singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth to lift Baltimore, handing Tampa Bay its ninth straight road loss.

Braves 10, Nationals 1 -- John Smoltz pitched eight stellar innings in a win over Washington, allowing one run and three hits to win his sixth straight home start.

Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 3 -- Jeff Kent homered to lead off the ninth inning and Los Angeles snapped a four-game losing streak with a win at Phoenix.

Padres 5, Rockies 2 -- Clay Hensley (8-10) scattered seven hits over seven innings and Josh Bard drove in two runs to lift visiting San Diego at Denver.

Athletics 5, Rangers 3 -- Joe Blanton (14-10) pitched 6 2/3 innings and Nick Swisher hit his 27th homer in Oakland's win at Arlington, Texas.

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