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Twins open 5-game AL Central lead


MINNEAPOLIS—As the Minnesota Twins move closer to a post-season berth, José Berríos' confidence grows.

Berríos pitched into the eighth inning to win his second straight start, Mitch Garver hit a go-ahead double and the Twins rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 last night.

“Confidence is real, and every single guy here needs it to succeed to be their best self and their best version of them on the field,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

“José certainly had it.”

Seeking their first AL Central title since 2010, the Twins opened a five-game lead over second-place Cleveland. At 92-58 with 12 games left, Minnesota is assured of its best record since finishing 94-68 in 2010.

Given an extra day of rest between starts, Berríos (13-8) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. He was rewarded with a standing ovation when he was removed.

“Every outing I'm feeling better and better," Berríos said through a translator. "My arm was feeling great today.”

Berríos' 188 1/3 innings are four shy of his career high, set last year.

The two-time All-Star has changed his postgame routine in order to stay fresher between starts.

He pitched into the eighth inning for just the fifth time this season.

Tyler Duffey finished the eighth, and Sergio Romo allowed Eloy Jiménez's homer leading off the ninth before getting an out. Taylor Rogers needed just eight pitches to finish a six-hitter for his 27th save in 33 chances.

Following a weekend series against the Indians, Minnesota started a final stretch against teams with losing records: the White Sox, Kansas City and worst-in-the-majors Detroit.

White Sox starter Reynaldo López gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“I was feeling good today," López said through a translator. "I missed quite a bit with first-pitch strikes, and that got me into some trouble.”

José Abreu's sacrifice fly in the first and James McCann's homer in the second gave Chicago a 2-0 lead, but the Twins tied the score in the bottom half on Jorge Polanco's sacrifice fly and Nelson Cruz's RBI single.

After Garver put the Twins ahead for good, Luis Arraez hit a cue shot off the end of his bat that curved past third baseman Yoan Moncada for a two-run single in the sixth.

Moncada appeared to be in position to make a play before the ball spun to his left and into the outfield.

“When he hit that ball, I don't think anybody realized it was going to do that, us included," Baldelli said. "It was just a very unusual ball off the bat.”

Twins' first baseman Marwin Gonzalez went 1 for 4 in his return from an abdominal injury that had sidelined him since Aug. 27.

Infielder Ehire Adrianza, who strained his right oblique on Thursday, hopes to start taking swings this weekend and remains optimistic he may play again during the regular season is over.

Right fielder Max Kepler was out of the lineup for the second straight game with left shoulder soreness.

First baseman C.J. Cron might need some time off to rest his injured right thumb, according to Baldelli.

In other AL action, Detroit downed Baltimore 5-2 and Kansas City shaded Oakland 6-5.

Over in the NL, Milwaukee dumped San Diego 5-1; St. Louis doubled Washington 4-2; the Chicago Cubs pounded Cincinnati 8-2; Colorado beat the N.Y. Mets 9-4; and Arizona topped Miami 7-5.

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