Youkilis upstaged by Liriano; Twins beat Sox 4-1
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By DAVE CAMPBELL
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kevin Youkilis needed a printout of the players on Chicago's roster so he could remember everyone's name. Jake Peavy pitched with a heavy heart, trying to honor the memory of a former coach.
The White Sox just weren't themselves on Monday night.
Francisco Liriano spoiled Youkilis' first game with Chicago, throwing a season-high seven innings to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 4-1 win over the White Sox.
Making his first start against the rival White Sox since his no-hitter in Chicago nearly 14 months ago, Liriano (2-7) allowed just three singles, two walks and a double. The left-hander struck out five, winning for the first time this month while holding the White Sox without a run until Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Youkilis singled in the eighth inning for his first hit as Chicago's new third baseman, acquired in a trade with Boston on Sunday, but that was too little too late for Jake Peavy (6-4), who fell to 0-3 in his five June starts.
"We haven't scored a whole lot, but that's no excuse. You have to find ways to be better. We stayed in it, but Liriano was too good," said Peavy, whose old bullpen coach with San Diego, Darrel Akerfelds, died on Sunday of pancreatic cancer at age 50.
"I battled as hard as I could battle, and one thing that kept coming in my mind was those tough times. He battled for something, and I wanted to battle and make him proud," Peavy said.
Peavy struck out seven and walked one in six innings, but he gave up a season-high 10 hits and could have allowed a lot more than the three runs the Twins scored over the first two frames.
In the first inning, Denard Span hit the first of his two doubles and scored on a sacrifice fly by Joe Mauer, putting Minnesota in front. In the second, a throwing error by right fielder Alex Rios let one run score. Jamey Carroll drove in the next one with a single.
Mauer had three hits, and Ben Revere topped him with his second four-hit performance in the last four games. Trevor Plouffe tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, but the Twins were fortunate their pitching was so tough. They left 13 men on base.
Youkilis said his mind was "kind of racing" during his first game in black and white.
"I had to bear down a few times and get my mind right, focus when I was on the field," he said. "Once I did that, I actually kind of had fun. It wasn't fun that we lost, but it was kind of enjoyable to be around new teammates and a new environment."
Adam Dunn, well on his way toward breaking the single-season strikeout record of 223, set by Mark Reynolds with Arizona in 2009, whiffed three times against Liriano and once more against Glen Perkins to raise his total for the year to 119.
"If you go up and just try to hit home runs, that's probably where he's at right now," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's just swinging through pitches he was hitting earlier."
Liriano has a 2.41 ERA with 40 strikeouts and only 20 hits and one home run allowed in 37 1-3 innings since returning to the rotation.
Not until the seventh did Liriano truly find trouble, and even then he deftly escaped with minimal damage.
Rios led off with a double and took third on a wild pitch. A.J. Pierzynski hit a hard comebacker that Liriano managed to stop with his shoe and freeze Rios while throwing to first for the out. But he had two strikes on Dayan Viciedo before throwing three straight balls for a walk, the last of which bounced in the dirt and hit catcher Drew Butera below the waist. Butera was doubled over in pain for a bit before retaking his place behind the plate.
Then came Ramirez, who singled twice earlier and hit one deep enough to right field that Rios could jog home. But Gordon Beckham grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
NOTES: Dunn has three four-strikeout games this year. He has avoided fanning only four times in his 71 starts this season. ... This was Liriano's longest appearance since he finished seven innings in beating the Yankees here last Aug. 20.
Updated June 26, 2012