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Wayward Liriano tosses Tigers victory

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers took advantage of some wild pitching by Francisco Liriano to claim a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday that strengthened their hold on first place in the American League Central Division.

The Detroit (54-47) win at Target Field boosted their lead to two games over the Cleveland Indians, who fell 4-2 to the visiting Chicago White Sox.

"It was a good win for us," Tigers manager Jim Leyland told reporters. "We got some big hits. You got to be happy with the series. To take three out of four, that's not easy to do. I am very happy about that."

The Tigers scored four runs against Twins starter Liriano, including three in the third inning when they sent nine batters to the plate.

In addition to yielding six hits, Liriano issued four walks and two wild pitches in just 2 1/3 innings.

"He (Liriano) didn't throw the ball over, it didn't matter who was up there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters.

"The ball just was not going over the plate. I think at one point he threw a couple of strikes in a row, but I don't think there were too many times that he did that. That's a rough outing."

Control problems also led to Detroit's fifth run when reliever Anthony Swarzak allowed Austin Jackson to score on a wild pitch in the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, Tigers starter Rick Porcello improved to 10-6 after giving up two runs off five hits while striking out four in six solid innings.

"He's (Porcello) being aggressive. He's going after hitters," Leyland said. "He threw some pretty good changeups and he won his 10th game. That's pretty good."

Jhonny Peralta, Wilson Betemit and Ramon Santiago each drove in a run, Victor Martinez contributed three hits and Jose Valverde converted his 26th save opportunity for the Tigers.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario. Edited by Patrick Johnston; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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