Sox beat Rangers again, get Liriano from Twins

ARLINGTON—Eduardo Escobar made his final contribution for the first-place White Sox on Saturday night.Escobar had two hits, including an RBI double in a three-run fifth, in a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers and then was sent to Minnesota in a trade for left-hander Francisco Liriano.Adam Dunn hit his major league-leading 31st home run, Philip Humber pitched six solid innings in the White Sox won their fifth straight game.The postgame scene, however, was dominated by the news of Liriano’s acquisition. The lefty was traded to the South Side on Saturday night for Escobar and minor league left-hander Pedro Hernandez.
“He’s such a good kid,” Dunn said of Escobar, “We really enjoyed having him.”
Escobar, who started at short in place of Alexei Ramirez, helped the White Sox pull away in a three-run fifth that extended their lead to 5-0.Jordan Danks singled and came home on Escobar’s double. Two batters later, Dunn hit a two-run shot that just cleared the wall in center.Escobar also doubled in the seventh.
“Everybody loves [Escobar],” Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko said. “He’s probably going to play every day and become a household name over there.”
Konerko added a two-run homer for the Sox, who increased their AL Central lead to 2½ games over Detroit. The White Sox have won the first two in a three-game series between division leaders.Humber (5-5) didn’t allow a hit through three innings and won for the second time in three starts. He yielded one run, four hits and struck out four.The Texas native was making his first start in his home state against the Rangers.Matt Harrison (12-6), who lost his second straight start, gave up five runs and seven hits in seven innings. The left-hander walked three and struck out four.Josh Hamilton sat out after Rangers manager Ron Washington elected to give his slumping slugger a mental break. Hamilton is batting .145 in July and heard rare boos from his home fans after striking out twice Friday night.Adrian Beltre moved into Hamilton’s third spot in the batting order, and rookie Leonys Martin played left field.The Rangers also shuffled the middle of their lineup. Nelson Cruz hit fourth for the second time in two years, David Murphy was in the fifth spot and Michael Young batted sixth.Mike Napoli had a solo homer and an RBI groundout for Texas, which dropped its fifth in a row to the White Sox. Humber and three relievers held the Rangers to five hits.Texas went 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position and 1 for 21 in the series.The White Sox had two rookies and backup catcher Tyler Flowers in the lineup, but offensive leaders Dunn and Konerko came through with the big hits to sink the Rangers.Harrison allowed only a walk through three innings before the Sox broke through. Dunn singled off Ian Kinsler’s glove at second base with one out in the fourth. Konerko followed with a 416-foot drive to left, his 17th home run of the season.Konerko is 10 for 19 with three home runs and seven RBI over his last five games.The White Sox broke the game open with their three runs in the fifth.After losing five in a row, the White Sox have responded by scoring 40 runs during their current winning streak.Young tripled leading off the seventh and Napoli followed with a walk that ended Humber’s night.Jesse Crain inherited the first-and-third jam. He struck out Martin and Craig Gentry, then got some help from his defense. Dayan Viciedo made a diving catch of Kinsler’s looping fly in shallow left to end the inning.
NOTES—The White Sox moved to shore up their rotation by acquiring lefty Liriano from the Twins. In exchange, the Twins will receive Hernandez and shortstop Eduardo Escobar.On the season, Liriano has a 5.31 ERA in 100.0 innings pitched; however, he’s generally fared much better since returning from his bullpen exile. When he was sent to the bullpen after his start on May 7, he had an ERA of 9.45. When he was restored to his starting role, he had an ERA of 8.47, and since that point he’s posted an ERA of 3.68. Obviously, the Sox are hoping that recent trends hold (save for Liriano’s disaster start last time out).Liriano will be owed the balance of his $5.5-million salary for this season. He’ll be eligible for free agency this winter….Alejandro De Aza (sprained left wrist) and SS Alexei Ramirez (bruised left hand) didn’t play one day after being involved in a scary outfield collision. While neither injury is considered serious, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said De Aza likely wouldn’t play Sunday, either. …A.J. Pierzynski missed his fourth straight game with a right oblique strain. … Texas RHP Neftali Feliz will make his fourth rehab appearance Sunday for Triple-A Round Rock. He is expected to throw about 80 pitches. …Gavin Floyd (8-8) will face Texas’ Scott Feldman (4-6) in the series finale Sunday.