CHICAGO – Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer each hit two-run homers, and the surging Minnesota Twins beat plummeting Chicago 7-4 to complete a three-game sweep and move into a second-place tie with the White Sox.

Minnesota and Chicago trail Detroit by 81/2 games in the AL Central. The Twins, who have won 34 of 42, open a three-game series at home against Detroit on Friday.

The White Sox have dropped 12 of 15. All-Star left-hander Mark Buehrle (9-9) lost his fifth straight start, allowing 10 hits and seven runs in 5 1-3 innings.

Morneau and Jason Bartlett had three hits each, and the Twins had 16 in all. Nick Punto singled twice, extending his career-high hitting streak to 18 games.

Carlos Silva (6-9) allowed three runs and six hits in five innings. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save.

Tigers 4, Indians 1

CLEVELAND – Rookie Justin Verlander outpitched C.C. Sabathia, and the Detroit kept up its domination of the AL Central.

Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run double in the sixth inning to break up the scoreless pitcher’s duel.

Verlander (13-4) struck out a career-high eight and allowed one run on five hits and no walks in 6 2-3 innings. He is 6-0 in his last eight starts and is tied for the major league lead in wins.

Detroit improved to 30-13 against the AL Central and has the best winning percentage (.698) of any club against its division.

Verlander’s only mistake came against rookie Joe Inglett, who hit his first career home run with two outs in the seventh. Tigers manager Jim Leyland quickly pulled the 23-year-old Verlander after 97 pitches.

Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save.

Sabathia (7-7) went seven innings, giving up four runs and nine hits.

Angels 15, Devil Rays 6

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Juan Rivera hit a pair of two-run doubles, including one during a 10-run second inning, and Los Angeles beat Tampa Bay.

Maicer Izturis had two hits and drove in three runs in the second, when the Angels took a 12-4 lead. The 10 runs and nine hits in the inning were season highs for Los Angeles.

Angels right-hander Bartolo Colon left after one inning with right elbow irritation. He allowed four runs and four hits, including homers by Rocco Baldelli and Ty Wigginton. Colon was making just his 10th start of the season. He was earlier on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.

Kevin Gregg (3-3) replaced him and gave up two runs and four hits in 3 1-3 innings for the Angels, who have won 12 of 16 and are 17-5 in July. Gregg departed with one out in the fifth with left knee irritation.

Casey Fossum (4-4) gave up seven runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings.


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