MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jim Thome hit another towering homer, Delmon Young drove in four runs and the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 10-3 on Tuesday night to take their largest AL Central lead in 10 days.
Francisco Liriano (13-7) raised his second-half record to 7-0 in 10 starts, giving up seven hits and two runs in seven easy innings. J.J. Hardy had three RBIs for the Twins, who scored six times in the third against Brian Bannister (7-12) and moved 4½ games ahead of Chicago in the division race.
The White Sox lost to Detroit 9-1, ending their seven-game winning streak. The Twins have won five straight, 10 of their last 12 and 33 of 45.
After one-run decisions in eight of their last nine games, winning six of those tight ones, the Twins were eager for a breather. That’s exactly what they got, thanks to Young and Hardy at the bottom of the lineup.
Manager Ron Gardenhire was able to take some of his regulars out early, and newly recalled relievers Glen Perkins and Pat Neshek worked an inning apiece.
The Royals lead the majors with 53 one-run games, just ahead of the Twins’ 49.
Bannister lasted only 2 2-3 innings. All seven runs against him scored with two outs, with Jason Kubel, Young and Hardy delivering the RBIs in the third. After tailing off following his torrid July, Young bounced back in a big way.
Thome has been steady all season long.
Just seconds after the White Sox score flashed final, he went deep in the sixth inning on a 3-2 count to make it 10-2. This was Thome’s 22nd homer of the season, estimated by the team’s media relations staff at 452 feet. It tied him with Frank Robinson for eighth place on the career list with 586.
The ball soared over right field and past the American flag, traveling to almost exactly the same place his estimated 480-foot shot landed in Monday’s game against the Royals. Thome has four home runs in his last three games.