Twins At White Sox: Minnesota Gets Second Straight Win, 3-2

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Twins At White Sox: Blackburn Leads Twins To 3-2 Victory Over Chicago

It might be the start of something big. Then again, it might not be. But for a couple of days, it felt pretty good to be a member of. . .or even a fan of. . .the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins got their second consecutive solid pitching performance, as Nick Blackburn scattered four hits and pitched into the seventh inning as the Twins completed a two-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon.

Jason Kubel, last night's offensive hero, got things started for the Twins in the top of the first, as his opposite-field single scored Denard Span to give the Twins a quick 1-0 lead. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the third, when Blackburn made his one mistake of the afternoon, allowing Alex Rios to launch one over the left-field fence to lead off the inning, tying the score at one.

The Twins took the lead back in the top of the sixth inning, when Span led off with a single and Matt Tolbert, while attempting to sacrifice, wound up with an infield single. Justin Morneau then flew out to right field, and both Span and Tolbert moved up 90 feet. Kubel then hit a sacrifice fly to score Span, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead. After White Sox starter John Danks intentionally walked Michael Cuddyer, rookie Rene Tosoni made Chicago pay with a single to center to score Tolbert and make the score 3-1.

The White Sox got a run back in the bottom of the eighth on Paul Konerko's sacrifice fly, but they would get no closer. Matt Capps came in to pitch the ninth, and even though the Sox got a runner to second base, Capps got Omar Vizquel and Juan Pierre to fly out to right field in consecutive at-bats to end the ball game, giving him his fifth save in six chances this season.

Blackburn got the victory, raising his record to 2-4 and snapping his personal four-game losing streak. Danks took the loss, falling to 0-5 on the year.

The Twins will take Thursday off so that they can travel to Boston to play a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park this weekend. Friday night's pitching match-up, as of now, will see the Twins send Scott Baker (1-2, 3.16 ERA) to the hill, while the Red Sox will counter with Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-2, 3.81). First pitch on Friday night is scheduled for 6:10 PM Central time.


Twins At White Sox: Minnesota Rides Liriano's No-Hitter to 1-0 Victory

Maybe Ron Gardenhire needs to threaten his pitchers with demotion more frequently.

Faced with the possibility of being moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen, Francisco Liriano responded with the first-no hitter for the Twins since Eric Milton did it on September 11, 1999, and the Twins held on for a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

Liriano, who came into the game with a 1-4 record and an ERA of 9.13. . .which means he was giving up an earned run per inning. . .got his first ever Major League complete game, his first ever Major League shutout and, obviously, his first ever Major League no-hitter.

It certainly wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing no-hitter in the history of the game. Liriano threw 123 pitches, 66 of them for strikes and 57 of them for balls. He issued six walks, including walking White Sox leadoff hitter Juan Pierre three separate times, but still did not allow a hit to the White Sox on the evening. He got some defensive help, too, as Danny Valencia made an outstanding play on a ball down the third base line to retire Carlos Quentin, and Justin Morneau made a great scoop of Matt Tolbert's throw to retire Brent Morel to start the bottom of the ninth.

There was some controversy as well, as the Twins might have gotten a break from the umpiring crew in the eighth. With one out in the inning, Liriano walked Ramon Castro and Brent Lillibridge came in to run for him. Gordon Beckham then grounded to Valencia at third, who went to Alexi Casilla at second for the force on Lillibridge. Casilla's relay throw to first pulled Justin Morneau off of the bag at first, and he swept back behind him in an attempt to tag Beckham. The replays showed, from most angles, that Morneau did not tag Beckham at all, but first base umpire Paul Emmel called Beckham out, much to the chagrin of the White Sox, and the eighth inning came to an end.

Liriano started the ninth by getting Morel to ground out to shortstop. After walking Pierre. . .again. . .he induced a pop out to short from Alexei Ramirez. After running to a full count against Adam Dunn, the White Sox slugger lined out to Tolbert at shortstop as well, and the no-hitter was officially in the history books.

The lone run of the night came when Jason Kubel took an offering from Edwin Jackson in the top of the fourth and deposited it over the right field wall for a solo home run to put the Twins ahead 1-0, a lead they would hold for the rest of the evening.

Liriano's victory raised his record to 2-4 on the year, and lowered his ERA to 6.61. Edwin Jackson, who threw a no-hitter last season, went eight innings for the White Sox (Matt Thornton pitched the ninth) and took the loss, dropping his record to 2-4 on the year as well.

The Twins follow this one up with a businessman's special at U.S. Cellular Field tomorrow to complete this abbreviated series. First pitch will take place at 1:10 PM Central time, and the Twins will send Nick Blackburn (1-4, 5.14 ERA) to the mound. The White Sox will counter with lefty John Danks (0-4, 3.92).


Francisco Liriano Throws No-Hitter Against Chicago White Sox

Francisco Liriano completed the first Minnesota Twins' no-hitter since September of 1999 as he retired the White Sox in the bottom of the ninth to complete the feat.

Jason Kubel's solo home run was the only run scored on the evening as the Twins defeated the White Sox 1-0 at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night.

Liriano started the ninth by getting Brent Morel to ground out to shortstop thanks to an outstanding defensive scoop by Justin Morneau at first base. He then walked Juan Pierre. . .Pierre's third walk of the night out of six issued by Liriano. . .to put a runner on first.

Alexei Ramirez then popped up to Matt Tolbert at shortstop, and that left the White Sox hopes on the shoulders of slugger Adam Dunn. Dunn stepped to the plate hitting 0-for-16 against left-handed pitching on the year, and Liriano pushed that to 0-for-17 as Dunn lined out to shortstop Matt Tolbert to end the ball game and give Francisco Liriano his first Major League complete game, his first Major League shutout, and his first Major League no-hitter.

Twins win 1-0, and we'll have more on this one shortly.


Twins At White Sox: Liriano Will Take No-Hitter To The Ninth

Well, we've got some drama at U.S. Cellular Field, as Minnesota Twins' left-hander Francisco Liriano will take a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox.

Alex Rios started out the inning by hitting a pop-up to shortstop Matt Tolbert for the first out. Liriano then walked Ramon Castro, his fifth walk of the evening. Brent Lillibridge then came in to run for Rios. Gordon Beckham then hit a ground ball to Danny Valencia, and the Twins turned a 5-4-3 double play. The relay throw to first was off the mark, but Justin Morneau managed to apply the tag to Beckham in time to retire him at first.

Liriano has now gotten through eight innings against the Chicago White Sox, and will now be looking to complete the first Minnesota Twins' no-hitter on September 11, 1999.

With eight innings in the books in Chicago, the Twins lead the White Sox 1-0, and Francisco Liriano is throwing a no-hitter.


Twins At White Sox: Liriano Gets Through The Seventh

Francisco Liriano is still carrying his no-hitter at U.S. Cellular Field, as he retired the Chicago White Sox in the bottom of the seventh in order.

Liriano started the inning by getting Adam Dunn to ground out to first baseman Justin Morneau for out number one. Paul Konerko followed that up by popping out to the shortstop, and Carlos Quentin grounded out to third to end the inning. Quentin's ground out came courtesy of a great play by third baseman Danny Valencia in order to keep the no-hitter intact.

Liriano is now up to 93 pitches in this one, so we will have to wait and see whether Ron Gardenhire will send him out for the top of the eighth. Again, Liriano hasn't thrown more than 96 pitches in any appearance this year, and in his career has never thrown a single complete game.

Seven innings in the books in Chicago, and the White Sox still don't have a hit as the Twins cling to a 1-0 lead.


Twins' Francisco Liriano Has No-Hitter Through Six Innings Against White Sox

Yes, I know I run the risk of jinxing it, but I'm going to roll with this anyway.

We're heading to the top of the seventh inning at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, and Minnesota Twins' left-handed Francisco Liriano has yet to allow a hit to the Chicago White Sox. He has walked four and struck out only two through those six innings, but he has yet to allow a hit.

Through these six innings, Liriano has thrown 86 pitches, only 46 of which have gone for strikes. The most pitches Liriano has thrown in a game during this 2011 season is 97, so it will be interesting to see how Ron Gardenhire handles him.

If you'll recall, last year at Target Field Kevin Slowey had a no-hitter against the Oakland Athletics, but was pulled by Gardenhire due to his pitch count.

So, with six innings in the book at U.S. Cellular Field, Francisco Liriano has a no-hitter going, and Jason Kubel's solo home run has staked him to a precarious 1-0 lead.

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