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Liriano fans seven over six in win vs. Yanks

The White Sox took care of business in Friday night's series opener against Minnesota as Chris Sale earned his 17th win pitching opposite of Esmerling Vasquez, who entered the game with a 9.35 ERA in two starts.

With the Tigers winning as well, Chicago's division lead remained at one game. And the White Sox are looking to at least keep the lead intact Saturday when left-hander Francisco Liriano takes the mound.

For Liriano, it will be the second time he squares off against his former team at Target Field. After spending a week pitching out of the bullpen, White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected to put the 28-year-old back in the rotation.

"We just feel it's the right thing to do," Ventura said.

Liriano is 2-1 since joining the White Sox but has a 5.53 ERA in nine starts and one relief appearance. He held the Twins to two runs on four hits in six innings on July 31, which was his first start after the trade.

"It's still strange. It feels kind of weird still," said Liriano on Friday in the visitors' clubhouse. "Get back here, say hello to the guys. It just feels weird still."

The White Sox hope the transition back to a starter won't feel the same way. Liriano said he doesn't think it will be a problem.

"I've been in the bullpen before, so it's not something new to me," he said. "I'm just looking forward to the chance to help the team from the bullpen or starting. We're in a pennant race and we're trying to make the playoffs. I'm just trying to do my part and try to do my best."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knows better than anyone that when Liriano's at his best, he's got ace-quality stuff. But when he's wild and walking batters -- something he's done often with the Twins and White Sox -- he can be beaten.

"We all know Frankie," Gardenhire said. "If he's really feeling good and really winging it in there, he can dominate a lineup. He can do that with the best of 'em. You just have to make him throw the ball over the plate."

White Sox: Dunn may return to lineup Saturday
• The White Sox could get a big boost in the lineup Saturday. A 6-foot-6, 285-pound boost. Adam Dunn, tied for third in the Majors with 38 home runs, has missed seven games with a right oblique strain. But he took batting practice Friday and reported no ill effects.

"When I swung today, I felt fine," Dunn said. "The plan is to be in there [Saturday]."

• With Liriano being promoted back to the rotation, left-hander Jose Quintana's start was pushed back. He will now start Monday in one of the biggest games of the year against the Tigers.

It will be a week since the 23-year-old last faced Detroit -- on Sept. 10 -- when he threw 7 2/3 innings, yielding one run on seven hits while striking out seven. He earned the South Siders' only victory over the Tigers in their last 10 meetings. It was also the first win against Detroit since May 14.

Twins: Deduno to pitch for the Twins
Minnesota will counter with Samuel Deduno (6-3, 3.55 ERA) on Saturday. Deduno last faced the White Sox on Sept. 3 and tossed six innings of two-run ball. However, he took his third loss of the season.

Still, it was another encouraging outing in Gardenhire's mind.

"He just has great stuff and if he gets himself in a few messes, he can get himself out of them with that stuff," Gardenhire said.

Deduno has allowed four runs over his last 20 innings -- three starts -- while allowing 11 hits and 18 strikeouts.

Worth Noting
The White Sox are 12-4 against the Twins this season. It's the only team they have double-digit wins against and it marks the first time they've had 12 wins against any team in a season since beating the Tigers and Royals 12 times each in 2008.

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