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Twins win, but gain no ground on Tigers

CHICAGO (AP) -- Brian Duensing won his fifth straight decision and the Minnesota Twins stayed on the heels of first-place Detroit in the AL Central with their ninth victory in the last 10 games, beating the Chicago White 8-6 on Wednesday night.

Nick Punto had three RBIs as the Twins completed a three-game sweep.

Detroit beat Cleveland 11-3 on Wednesday and leads the Twins by 2½ games. Minnesota is off Thursday before starting a three-game series in Kansas City. The Tigers begin a three-game series Friday against the White Sox, who have lost seven of eight.

The Tigers and Twins begin a four-game series in Detroit on Monday.

Jermaine Dye, who entered the game in a 12-for-93 slump, had two homers for Chicago, the first breaking a 58 at-bat homerless streak.

Duensing (5-1), who is 5-0 in his last seven starts, entered the game with a 13Zc-innings scoreless streak spanning his two previous outings. He allowed a run in the fourth on Carlos Quentin's two-out RBI single that cut Minnesota's lead to 5-1.

Duensing wasn't sharp after the early innings. He gave up nine hits and four runs -- three earned -- in 5Xc innings. Joe Nathan, the Twins' fourth reliever, pitched a shaky ninth for his 44th save, hitting a batter and walking Paul Konerko before getting Alexei Ramirez on a popup to end it.

Jayson Nix had an RBI single in the fifth, and Dye hit a two-run homer in the sixth, right after an error on Twins' shortstop Orlando Cabrera. That made it 5-4.

Punto hit a two-out, two-run RBI single off Carlos Torres in a three-run seventh that included an error on Chicago shortstop Ramirez and made it 8-4. Dye connected for his 27th of the season in the bottom of the eighth, another two-run shot, this one off Bobby Keppel.

The Twins, who scored 23 runs in the three-game series, knocked out Chicago ace Mark Buehrle (12-10) after 3Zc innings. Buehrle, 1-7 in 12 starts since pitching a perfect game on July 23, gave up eight hits and was charged with five runs, four earned.

Cabrera, the White Sox's shortstop during a division title-winning season a year ago, continued to hurt his former team. He had two hits and an RBI, giving him five for the series.

Cabrera had an RBI single in the third and raced home on Michael Cuddyer's run-scoring single for a 3-0 lead in the third.

The Twins drove Buehrle out in the fourth when Brendan Harris and Punto had doubles to make it 4-0. Carlos Gomez hit Minnesota's third double of the inning to make it 5-0.

NOTES: Twins CF Denard Span was out of the lineup a second straight game after being hit in the helmet with a pitch Monday night. He could return Friday.