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On Sunday afternoon, Francisco Liriano flashed some of the brilliance that Twins fans had become accustomed to prior to his Tommy John surgery. The mercurial left-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and was perfect through six as the Minnesota Twins took their third game out of a four-game set with the Texas Rangers by a score of 6-1 at Target Field.
The Twins got an early lead in this one against Rangers' starter Matt Harrison, as Luke Hughes came through with a two-out single to score Ben Revere in the bottom of the first to stake Liriano to a 1-0 lead.
And, really, that was basically all of the offensive action for the first six innings of this one. The Rangers kept sending guys to the plate, and Liriano kept setting them down. He retired the first eighteen Texas Rangers he faced in order, and he got some help defensively to get there. In the top of the second, Rangers' third baseman Adrian Beltre lifted a fly ball down the right field line that Jason Repko made a brilliant diving catch on for the second out. In the top of the fourth, Ian Kinsler led off the inning with a smash to the left side of the infield, but Hughes made a diving stop and gunned Kinsler down at first.
In the top of the seventh, Liriano retired Kinsler for the first out, and shortstop Elvis Andrus bounced one to Hughes at third. Hughes attempted to backhand the ball, but it bounced off of his glove and into foul territory. The play was scored an error, preserving the no-hit bid, and Andrus wound up at second base, where he was stranded after Liriano retired Josh Hamilton and Michael Young.
The Twins blew things open offensively in the bottom of the seventh inning. Danny Valencia led off the inning with a line drive that glanced off of Harrison's arm, reaching on the infield single and knocking Harrison out of the game. Reliever Mark Lowe came into the game and got Repko to ground out to shortstop for the first out, but in the next at-bat, Andrus threw wildly to first on Rene Rivera's ground ball. The E-6 left Rivera at first and allowed Valencia to score, padding the Twins' lead to 2-0.
Matt Tolbert then fouled out to Beltre at third, and Lowe struck out Ben Revere to end the inning. . .at least, it would have ended the inning had the ball not gotten away from catcher Yorvit Torrealba. On the miscue, Revere hustled down to first base, and Rivera advanced to second, allowing an inning that should have been over to continue.
The Twins took full advantage of the extra out they were given, as Alexi Casilla continued his hot hitting with a single to left field to score Rivera, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead and keeping runners at first and second. The next batter, Michael Cuddyer, launched an offering from Lowe over the wall in left field for a three-run homer, his ninth of the season, to increase Minnesota's lead to 6-0. The Twins had an opportunity to add more, as Delmon Young and Luke Hughes chased Lowe with consecutive singles, but Yoshinori Tateyama got Valencia, who led off the inning, to fly out to center for the third out.
Through all of this, Liriano sat in the dugout. . .and waited. . .and waited. Between the injury to Harrison, the Twins' offense blowing up, and the singing of God Bless America between innings, Liriano went nearly half an hour between pitches. He faced Adrian Beltre to lead off the top of the eighth, immediately got behind 3-0, and after a "get me over" fastball for a strike, Beltre lined a solid single to center field to end Liriano's bid for a second no-hitter this season. After a wild pitch allowed Beltre to move to second and a strikeout of Nelson Cruz, Torrealba singled to center and score Beltre, making the score 6-1 and ending the shutout bid for Liriano as well.
Despite only throwing 97 pitches on the afternoon, Liriano did not come out for the ninth inning, being lifted by manager Ron Gardenhire for Alex Burnett. Burnett pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, and the Twins came away with their ninth victory in the last eleven games.
Liriano's start was impressive, regardless of how you slice it. In eight innings of work, he allowed just the two hits and one run while striking out nine and, shockingly. . .this season, anyway. . .not walking a single hitter. The victory raises Liriano's record on the 2011 season to 4-6, and his ERA has dropped to 4.67. Harrison took the loss for the Rangers after allowing five hits and two runs (one earned) in six innings of work. His record on the season is now 5-6.
On Monday, the Twins will get their first day off since May 26, as they prepare to host a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. That series will kick off on Tuesday, June 14, with first pitch from Target Field scheduled for 7:10 PM Central. The tentative pitching match-up currently features Carl Pavano (3-5, 4.54 ERA) for the Twins squaring off against Gavin Floyd (6-5, 3.89 ERA) for the White Sox.
Well, the official scorer doesn't have anything to worry about after all.
Adrian Beltre led off the bottom of the eighth inning for the Texas Rangers with a solid single to center field, ending Francisco Liriano's bid for a second no-hitter this season. Liriano had a perfect game through 6.1 innings pitched, and took the no-hit bid into the top of the eighth against the defending American League champions.
Liriano fell behind Beltre 3-0 to start the at-bat, laid a "get me over" fastball up there to get a strike, and Beltre lined the 3-1 offering to Ben Revere in center field for the Rangers' first hit of the afternoon.
On the bright side, the Twins have built up a 6-0 lead on the Rangers thanks to various Texas miscues, and are on track to cut their deficit in the American League Central to nine games as the Cleveland Indians are getting blown out by the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers have already lost to the Seattle Mariners this afternoon.
In his no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on May 3, Francisco Liriano got a little bit of help from one of the umpires, as they called a White Sox runner out on a play where replay clearly showed that first baseman Justin Morneau missed a tag.
If he manages to hold on to his no-hitter today against the Texas Rangers, he may have to write a thank you card to the official scorer.
Now, that might have been a play that Hughes could have made, but he might have had a tough time getting somebody with Andrus' speed. Andrus wound up on second base on the play, but was stranded there by Liriano. I'm not sure if I would have called that an error, but that's what the official scorer went with.
The Twins have given Liriano significantly more padding in their half of the seventh, as they've put up five runs so far to extend their lead to 6-0, and they're still hitting as the Rangers are making their second pitching change of the inning. Hopefully Liriano is finding a way to stay warm.
Minnesota Twins' left-hander Francisco Liriano, who has already thrown one no-hitter this season, is angling for a second one as he takes a no-hitter into the top of the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers.
Liriano was perfect through the first six innings, but lost the bid for a perfect game with one out in the seventh inning when Twins' third baseman Luke Hughes committed an error on a ground ball by Rangers' shortstop Elvis Andrus. Liriano then retired Josh Hamilton and Michael Young to get out of the seventh inning without allowing a hit.
Liriano pitched a no-hitter this season on May 3 at U.S. Cellular Field against the Chicago White Sox in a game that the Twins won 1-0. The Twins currently lead this one 1-0 as well, courtesy of Hughes' two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. While Liriano had control problems in his first no-hitter, he has had no such difficulties today, striking out eight Rangers without surrendering a walk. Liriano has thrown just 73 pitches to get to this point. In his no-hitter against the White Sox, he walked six and needed 123 pitches to complete the game.
Again, as we play the bottom of the seventh inning at Target Field, Francisco Liriano is working a no-hitter against the defending American League champion Texas Rangers. We will keep you updated on the status of the game as it progresses.
After going the first two months of the season without winning a series of three games or longer, the Minnesota Twins look to take their third straight series as they finish their four-game set with the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
With a victory today, the Twins will take three out of four from the defending American League champions and, depending on how the Cleveland Indians fare against the New York Yankees, can cut their deficit in the American League Central nearly in half. Minnesota found themselves 16.5 games out of first place prior to the start of their series with the Kansas City Royals on June 2. A Twins' victory and an Indians loss today would cut that number down to nine. A Minnesota victory today would also give them just their second series victory of any length at Target Field this season. . .their only other home series victory came in an abbreviated two-game set against the Indians on April 23 and 24.
The Twins' offense got going early on Saturday, chasing Rangers' started Colby Lewis after just 1.1 innings pitched and putting up six runs in the first two innings on the way to an 8-1 victory. Delmon Young had three hits and drove in a pair, Alexi Casilla continued his hot streak with three hits of his own, and Ben Revere added two more hits and a pair of spectacular catches in center field.
The Rangers will be handing the ball to lefty Matt Harrison (5-5, 3.48 ERA) this afternoon. The Rangers were unsure if Harrison would be able to pitch today, as he is battling a kidney stone that still has not passed. In his last start, Harrison got shelled, allowing four runs on eight hits in just four innings of work in an 8-1 Rangers loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.
The Twins will go with left-hander Francisco Liriano (3-6, 5.20 ERA). Liriano has had a lot of ups and downs this year. . .look no farther than the fact that he's thrown a no-hitter this year, yet still has an ERA above five. Liriano has pitched well of late, however, giving up a total of just three earned runs in his last three starts. In his last start, he was a hard-luck loser, as he allowed just one unearned run, but that was the difference as the Twins fell to the Indians 1-0 on Tuesday at Progressive Field.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 1:10 PM Central time. Twinkie Town already has their Game Thread set up, so you can get in on some virtual tailgating before today's baseball action gets underway. As always, we will have your recap for you when the game is over.
A day after the Texas Rangers lit up the Minnesota Twins for a seven-run inning, the Twins returned the favor, plating five runs in the first and not allowing Rangers' starter Colby Lewis to escape the second inning in an 8-1 thumping of the Rangers on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.
Despite once again fielding a lineup that did not include Denard Span, Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, or Jim Thome, the Twins battered Lewis around, touching him up for six runs on seven hits in just 1.1 innings of work. Ben Revere and Alexi Casilla led off the inning for the Twins with consecutive singles, with Revere advancing to third on Casilla's hit and coming in to score on Michael Cuddyer's sacrifice fly. A Delmon Young single to left allowed Casilla to advance to third, and Casilla came in to score after Lewis uncorked a wild pitch, making the score 2-0.
After Rene Tosoni and Danny Valencia drew consecutive walks to load the bases, Brian Dinkelman came through with a base hit to right center to score both Young and Tosoni, giving the Twins a quick 4-0 lead. After Rene Rivera flew out, Matt Tolbert came through with a two-out single to score Valencia and give the Twins a 5-0 lead. Revere, the tenth man to the plate in the inning, then grounded out to end things for the Twins.
The Twins added another run in the second after Casilla doubled to lead off the inning, and stole third after Michael Cuddyer struck out. Delmon Young then singled to center to score Casilla, and increase the Twins' lead to 6-0. That was all for Lewis, as Rangers' manager Ron Washington called Dave Bush on to relieve his starter.
Minnesota was at it again in the bottom of the fourth, when Revere led off the inning with a single and proceeded to steal second. Casilla then laced a single to right to score Revere and make the Minnesota lead 7-0. The Twins' final run came in the bottom of the seventh, when Cuddyer started the inning with a double off of Bush, ending his afternoon. Delmon Young then stepped in and greeted new pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama with a double to score Cuddyer, padding the Twins' lead to 8-0.
The Rangers lone run came in the top of the eighth, when Mike Napoli singled to center with two outs, and advanced to second on fielder's indifference. David Murphy then singled to right, scoring Napoli and breaking up the shutout for Baker as the score changed to 8-1.
The offensive explosion by the Twins was not enough to overshadow the brilliant start put together by Scott Baker, who earned his first complete game victory since August of 2009 with his performance. Baker scattered just five hits on the afternoon and allowed the single run while striking out seven and not walking anybody. The win for Baker gives him consecutive victories for the first time since August of 2010. More importantly, with the Indians' loss today, the Twins have cut their deficit in the American League Central to ten games.
The loss for Lewis dropped his record on the season to 5-7.
The Twins have already assured themselves of at least a split in this four-game series, and will go for the outright victory. . .which would be their third in a row. . .on Sunday afternoon at Target Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 PM Central time. Mercurial left-hander Francisco Liriano (3-6, 5.20 ERA) will take the mound for the Twins, and he will be opposed by Rangers' left-hander Matt Harrison (5-4, 3.26 ERA).
The Texas Rangers handed the Minnesota Twins a pretty good beatdown at Target Field on Friday night, scoring seven runs in the second inning off of Twins' starter Brian Duensing and winning by a final score of 9-3. Today, the Twins will try to bounce back in the third of this four-game weekend set.
The Twins will once again be without first baseman Justin Morneau, who will see a hand specialist on Monday's off day for trouble with his wrist. Manager Ron Gardenhire has already declared Morneau out for Sunday's series finale as well. So, the Twins will go with a makeshift lineup that will see Rene Tosoni at the DH spot and Brian Dinkelman in right field.
Scott Baker (3-4, 3.86 ERA) will head to the mound for Minnesota this afternoon. Baker got a victory in his last start, allowing four runs on nine hits in seven innings of work in a 6-4 Minnesota victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday. Today, he will attempt to get consecutive victories for the first time since last August.
The Rangers will go with right-hander Colby Lewis (5-6, 4.37 ERA). Lewis got blasted in his last start, giving up nine earned runs and ten hits in just 3.1 innings in a 13-7 Rangers loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 3:10 PM Central time. Be sure to visit our friends at Twinkie Town so that you can join in the Game Thread, and we will have the recap for you when the game is finished.
The Texas Rangers put a screeching halt to their seven-game losing streak at Target Field on Friday night, scoring seven runs in the second inning and chasing Minnesota Twins starter Brian Duensing en route to a 9-3 victory over the Twins on Friday evening at Target Field.
Fielding a lineup that didn't have any sign of Denard Span (concussion), Justin Morneau (wrist soreness), Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, or Jim Thome, the Twins' offense just didn't have enough gas to keep up with the Texas offense, who scored early and often against Duensing. The Rangers sent eleven men to the plate in their seven-run second inning, and Duensing did not come back out for the third, having been replaced by Anthony Swarzak. Only three of the seven runs the Rangers scored were earned runs, thanks to errors by Jason Repko and Alexi Casilla, but it was still enough to knock out Duensing, who was sent to his sixth loss in his last seven decisions.
The loss for Duensing dropped his record on the season to 3-6 on the season. Swarzak pitched six innings in relief, allowing two runs and six hits in that time. Jim Hoey also pitched a perfect inning in relief. The victory for the Rangers went to starter C.J. Wilson, who now has a record of 7-3 on the season, having scattered eight hits and allowing three runs in the victory for Texas.
The same two teams will get together at Target Field on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 3:10 PM Central time in Minneapolis. The Rangers will start right-hander Colby Lewis (5-6, 4.37 ERA), while the Twins will turn to right-hander Scott Baker (3-4, 3.86 ERA).
The Texas Rangers are winless in seven games at Target Field, and the Minnesota Twins will attempt to carry that forward on Friday night, as the two teams will get together for the second game of a four-game set in Minneapolis.
The Rangers came back on Thursday night thanks to the long ball, but the Twins kept scrapping away and eventually won on Alexi Casilla's two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to score Luke Hughes and give the Twins a 5-4 victory over Texas. The victory was Minnesota's seventh in their last eight games.
The Twins, who were 16.5 games out in the American League Central just a week ago, are now 11 games behind the Cleveland Indians, who have gone into a bit of a tailspin. They still have quite a ways to go in order to get themselves back into serious contention, but with so many players currently missing for the Twins, such an opportunity seems much more feasible than it might have just a week or so ago. After all, much of the current hot streak the Twins are on has been done without Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, all of whom are slated to come back in the fairly near future, and with Justin Morneau not checking in at 100% due to various problems.
Tonight, the Twins will hand the ball to left-hander Brian Duensing (3-5, 4.73 ERA). In his last start, Duensing snapped a personal five-game losing streak when he put on a brilliant performance against the Kansas City Royals. Duensing pitched eight shutout innings, allowing only six hits in a game that the Twins went on to win by a final score of 6-0. The victory was Duensing's first since April 23, a stretch that saw Duensing collect five losses and two no-decisions (in games that the Twins went on to lose).
The Rangers will counter with left-hander C.J. Wilson (6-3, 3.03 ERA). In Wilson's last nine starts, the Rangers have gone win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win, with Wilson collecting a 4-3 record with two no-decisions in that stretch (the Rangers split those two no-decisions). In his last start, he was brilliant in allowing just three hits over 7.2 shutout innings against the Cleveland Indians, helping the Rangers to a 2-0 victory in Cleveland.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time tonight at Target Field. As always, head over to Twinkie Town for the Game Thread for the best conversation on the net with other Twins fans, and come back here for the recap when things have finished.
The Twins lost a lead late on Thursday night against the Texas Rangers, but they refused to give up, and were rewarded with a 5-4 victory when Alexi Casilla singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Things got off to a rocky start for the Twins and starter Nick Blackburn, as he gave up a solo home run to Josh Hamilton with two out in the bottom of the first to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. The Twins got that run back in the bottom of the second, when Delmon Young led off the frame with a solo home run of his own, this one off of Rangers' starter Derek Holland.
The Twins took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Rene Rivera and Matt Tolbert reached base to give the Twins runners on first and second with nobody out, but Ben Revere bunted into a fielder's choice that saw Rivera forced out at third, and Alexi Casilla grounded into a fielder's choice that saw Revere forced out at second. So, with runners on the corners and two out, Michael Cuddyer decided that he had seen quite enough, and blasted an offering from Holland over the wall in center field for a three-run homer, giving the Twins a 4-1 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton grounded one back to Blackburn, who threw wildly to first, allowing Hamilton to advance to second. After Michael Young struck out, Adrian Beltre singled to center to score Hamilton and make the score 4-2. After an error by Danny Valencia on a grounder by Nelson Cruz gave the Rangers runners on the corners, Mitch Moreland lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Beltre and cut the Minnesota lead to 4-3.
Blackburn took the mound for the start of the eighth inning, and after retiring Beltre on a groundout, Nelson Cruz hit one that might not have come down yet, a solo blast that tied the game at four. Blackburn was then lifted for Jose Mijares, who allowed back-to-back singles to Moreland and Yorvit Torrealba, and was lifted for Alex Burnett. Burnett got a fielder's choice groundout from pinch-hitter Craig Gentry, and then hit Elvis Andrus with a pitch to load the bases. Ron Gardenhire then brought in left-hander Chuck James to face David Murphy, but Rangers' manager Ron Washington lifted Murphy for pinch-hitter Mike Napoli. However, James got Napoli to ground into a fielder's choice to Casilla at shortstop, and the threat was halted.
After James and Jim Hoey combined to set the Rangers down in the top of the ninth, Luke Hughes led off the bottom of the ninth with a ground rule double down the left field line. Brian Dinkelman pinch-hit for Rivera, and went down on strikes against Rangers' reliever Mark Lowe. After Matt Tolbert was able to work Lowe for a walk, 206-year old left-hander Arthur Rhodes came into the game to face Ben Revere. Revere flew out to left for the Twins' second out, and Casilla went up to bat against Rhodes. Casilla lined a 2-1 offering from Rhodes into left field deep enough for Hughes to come around and score, and the Twins had their seventh victory in their last eight ball games.
Hoey wound up getting the victory for the Twins, his first win of the year, raising his record to 1-2. Lowe took the loss from the Rangers, evening his record at 1-1. Neither starter figured into the decision, as Holland allowed four runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings, striking out ten in the process, while Blackburn allowed four runs on ten hits in 7.1 innings, striking out six. Each pitcher allowed two home runs on the evening.
The same two teams will get together at Target Field on Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM. The Rangers will send left-hander C.J. Wilson (6-3, 3.03 ERA) to the mound, while the Twins will give the ball to lefty Brian Duensing (3-5, 4.73 ERA).
The Minnesota Twins haven't played a game at Target Field since the day before Memorial Day, but they finally get to return home tonight after a fairly successful road trip as they take the diamond at Target Field tonight against the Texas Rangers, the defending American League champions.
After getting swept by the Detroit Tigers to kick off their road trip, the Twins went on to win six of the final seven games of the trip and close the gap in the American League Central to 11.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians. Again, being 11.5 games back in early June doesn't sound terribly impressive. . .but it certainly beats being 16.5 back, which is where the Twins were going into their series against the Kansas City Royals a week ago.
The Rangers come into this one having won six of their past eight games, but the team has never won at Target Field. They had six opportunities against the Twins in 2010, and Minnesota came out on top all six times.
Tonight's pitching match-up is a fairly interesting one. The Rangers will go with left-hander Derek Holland (5-1, 4.36 ERA), whose ERA on the road is four runs better than it is when he starts at home (his road ERA is 2.70, while his home ERA is 6.68). In his last start, he limited the Cleveland Indians to five hits in seven innings of work as the Rangers came out on top, 4-0.
The Twins will counter with right-hander Nick Blackburn (5-4, 3.57 ERA). Blackburn is 4-0 with a 2.64 ERA since May 1, but it remains to be seen whether or not he is 100%. In his previous start against the Kansas City Royals, Blackburn only went five innings before being lifted with tightness in his back, holding the Royals to two runs in a 7-2 Minnesota victory.
First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time, and the folks at Twinkie Town will be your home for all the talking you want to do while the game is taking place. After the game is over and done with, we'll have your recap right back here.
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