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Liriano to pitch playoff opener

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Francisco Liriano will get the start when Minnesota opens the AL playoffs next month,

"He's been winging it pretty good," manager Ron Gardenhire said before Wednesday's game against Cleveland.

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Liriano is 14-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 29 starts, including 6-1 in his past 10. The left-hander will have six days' rest be-tween his final regular season and first playoff starts.

Minnesota clinched its second straight AL Central title -- and sixth in nine years -- late Tuesday. Unlike last year, when Minnesota a tiebreaker playoff to win the division, the Twins can set up their rotation.

Carl Pavano is scheduled to pitch Game 2 followed by Brian Duensing.

Pavano is 17-11 with a 3.60 ERA this season. Duensing is 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA.

Nick Blackburn (9-10, 5.43 ERA) will be the fourth starter if the Twins use a four-man rotation.

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