Hello second place.
For the first time since April 12, a span of 82 consecutive days, the Minnesota Twins are not the leaders in the American League Central. With one of their best and most consistent pitchers on the mound, the Twins were looking to maintain their place atop the division and begin building their lead with game one of the three-game series.
Liriano chose a bad time to put forth one of his few bad starts, and after the Tigers scored four runs in the first inning, they never looked back. Liriano did last six innings and pitched well after the first inning, but the Twins never recovered and trailed the entire game.
Opposite Liriano and on the mound for the Tigers was Jeremy Bonderman, and while he didn’t put forth a quality start, he scattered four runs, pitched into the sixth inning, and handed the lead to his bullpen to collect the victory.
There was some bad news for both the Tigers and the team’s bullpen despite their 3.2 innings and one unearned run performance — an injury to setup-man Joel Zumaya. Pitching in the eighth inning, Zumaya threw a 98 MPH fastball to Twins’ outfielder Delmon Young, and screamed and fell to the ground in pain with an injury to either his throwing arm or elbow. The early prognosis for Zumaya, who was reportedly in a sling following the game, isn’t good.
With the loss, the Twins are now not only in second place, they’ve also fallen to six games above .500 for the season, and the schedule won’t be getting any easier. Before breaking for the Midsummer Classic, the Twins will play Detroit five more times and hold series with both Tampa Bay and Toronto.
Nick Blackburn will take the mound tomorrow hoping to propel the Twins back to the top of the division, but he’ll need to drastically improve from his recent outings — starts that have his June ERA currently standing at 12.00.
Notes: Joe Mauer went 0-3 on the night and will need to get a hit before getting out tomorrow to avoid dropping into the .200s…Jim Thome hit his 571st homerun of his career and stands just two shy of former Twin, Harmon Killebrew…Everybody in the lineup with the exception of Mauer and Nick Punto collected a hit, but the Twins grounded into three double plays.