MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano pitched six strong innings in his White Sox debut against his former team, A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run, tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning, and the Sox held on for a 4-3 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Pierzynski also scored the tying run in the seventh inning. The Sox catcher was by a Nick Blackburn pitch with two outs, advanced to second on Dayan Viciedo's single and scored on Alexei Ramirez's single to left.
Viciedo drove in the Sox' first run with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Alex Rios. Rios, who had doubled in the second, singled before Pierzynski's homer. It was Pierzynski's second home run in two nights against his former team and the 18th of the season, tying his career high.
"I figured I gave them one yesterday and maybe I could get one back for us today,'' said Pierzynski, whose throwing error in the ninth inning Tuesday set up the winning run for the Twins.
Liriano allowed four hits and walked four while striking out eight. Both runs came in the sixth inning without the Twins hitting a ball out of the infield against him. Liriano walked two and gave up infield singles in the sixth to Darin Mastroianni and Danny Valencia. Liriano, who was 3-10 with the Twins, received a no-decision.
"Minnesota finally got a dose of what we've been seeing for seven years and how hard it is to hit him when he throws it over the plate,'' Pierzynski said of Liriano, whose known as a pitcher with great stuff but inconsistent command. "He was a little excited or nervous, it was a different feeling for him I'm sure since he had never been on this side. I'm happy he got the first one out of the way and now he can settle in.''
Jesse Crain, also a former Twin, pitched a scoreless seventh. Matt Thornton (3-6) pitched a perfect eighth and Addison Reed gave up an RBI single to Denard Span (4-for-5) in the ninth before getting Joe Mauer on a grounder to first baseman Paul Konerko to end the game.
Konerko bobbled Mauer's grounder, then stumbled before flipping to Reed, who made a barehand grab for the putout.
Sox manager Robin Ventura was more than satisfied with Liriano's contribution. As of now, the Sox have six starters with Liriano.
"He pitched great,'' Ventura said. "I thought he's doing what we got him to do. For a team that has seen him and knows him very well, he came out and pitched well even though the circumstances were probably a little odd for him to go out in our uniform and pitch here.
"He was just pitching. You never know what's going to happen with a guy going to a new team. He just goes out and competes and none of the other stuff comes with him.''
Pierzynski said Liriano's slider looked every bit as tough from behind the plate as it did from the batter's box.
"It's just throwing strikes,'' Pierzynski said. "The bottom line is he has to throw it over the plate, and if he does he's good. Facing him especially as a lefty you can feel helpless up there. After the game he apologized to me for being wild. I said 'Dude you're fine.' You're great. Don't apologize to me.''