Indians
Twins
2 - 6 Final
  for this game

Liriano dominant in return as Twins down Indians

Aug 4, 2008 - 12:01 AM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Welcome Francisco Liriano, welcome to first place.

Liriano made his much anticipated return from Class AAA Rochester on Sunday, throwing six scoreless innings to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 6-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

The win put Minnesota (62-49) one-half game in front of the Chicago White Sox (61-49) in the American League Central Division. The White Sox lost the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Liriano (1-3) lost his first three starts and had an 11.32 ERA before he was sent back to the Red Wings to regain his form and confidence after sitting out the 2007 season following "Tommy John" elbow ligament replacement surgery.

But after he allowed just three hits and three walks with five strikeouts against the Indians, the Twins were reminded of the 2006 All Star version of the young phenom.

"You hear reports, but until you see it or get a chance to catch it, it can be totally different," Twins catcher Mike Redmond said. "I caught him his last start before he was sent down (on April 24 at Kansas City). Amazing transformation. He's improved so much. You can tell his arm strength - its not what it was before he first got hurt, but it was pretty close."

"The velocity isn't the same and the slider isn't the same," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But it's still better than most."

Matt Ginter (1-3) lost his third consecutive start, allowing five runs and five hits with two walks and three strikeouts as Cleveland lost for the sixth time in its last nine games.

The Indians were one of three teams to beat Liriano before his demotion, scoring three runs on him in five innings on April 18. But Cleveland looked overmatched Sunday.

"(Liriano) was better today," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He did a good job with his fastball and mixing in his slider and changeup. We made him work a little bit there, but we didn't take advantage."

Liriano retired the first seven batters he faced, but walked a pair in the third inning and was forced to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam following a throwing error.

"I was real nervous, I don't know why," Liriano said. "When I got called up in (2005), it was the same way."

If he was nervous, Liriano didn't show it.

The 24-year old put up numbers akin to those earned in Rochester the last few months. Liriano was 10-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 20 starts for the Red Wings and was 10-0 with a 2.67 ERA since June 5. He was recalled Friday to replace Livan Hernandez in the rotation.

Expectations have been high for Liriano since he challenged Johan Santana for staff ace in 2006, recording a 12-3 record in 16 starts with 144 strikeouts and a 2.16 ERA overall.

But he pitched just twice after July 28 and needed ligament replacement surgery in the offseason. He tried to come back at the beginning of the 2008 campaign, but did not look like the Liriano of old until Sunday.

"The look on his face was just a totally different look from how he was in April," second baseman Nick Punto said. "Its nice to see him so confident."

Brendan Harris hit a solo home run in the third inning to give Minnesota a lead it would not relinquish. Mike Lamb hit his run-scoring triple in the fifth inning and came home on Brian Buscher's single in the next at-bat.

Denard Span reached on a bunt single in the sixth inning and scored on Punto's triple. Punto eventually scored on Ginter's wild pitch and Span added a solo home run in the eighth off former Twins reliever Juan Rincon.

Cleveland got on the board in the seventh off reliever Jesse Crain when Twins left fielder Jason Kubel lost Grady Sizemore's fly ball in the roof, allowing Franklin Gutierrez to score. Ben Francisco added a solo home run off Matt Guerrier in the eighth.

But Minnesota ultimately recovered from its loss to the Indians on Saturday to win for the seventh time in its last nine games while claiming its eighth consecutive home series. The Twins have not lost back-to-back home games since May 30-31 against the New York Yankees.

Coupled with Chicago's loss to Kansas City, the Twins took over first place in the division for the first time since May 13.

"In '06 we were in first for one day," Redmond said. "You've just got to be there at the end."






  • itzmewalli YES TWINS IN FIRST PLACE AGAIN!!

    Indians 2, Twins 6  Top 9, 0 OutsAug 3 4:40 PM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 7 0
    MINNESOTA 0 0 1 0 2 2 0 1 x 6 6 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CLE - MATT GINTER, TOM MASTNY (7TH), JUAN RINCON (8TH) AND KELLY
    SHOPPACH
    MIN - FRANCISCO LIRIANO, JESSE CRAIN (7TH), MATT
    GUERRIER (8TH), DENNYS REYES (9TH) AND M

    Aug 3 4:40 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DENARD SPAN (2) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    8TH OFF JUAN RINCON.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2, MINNESOTA 6
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: N PUNTO (.286, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Indians 2, Twins 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 3 4:29 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BEN FRANCISCO (11) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF MATT GUERRIER.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2, MINNESOTA 5
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J PERALTA (.270, 1-FOR-3)

    Indians 2, Twins 5  Top 8, 0 OutsAug 3 4:19 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY GRADY SIZEMORE SCORED FRANKLIN GUTIERREZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G SIZEMORE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1
    MINNESOTA 5 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J CARROLL (.268, 0-FOR-3)

    Indians 1, Twins 5  Top 7, 0 OutsAug 3 4:02 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY MATT GINTER ALLOWED NICK PUNTO TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J MORNEAU ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0
    MINNESOTA 5 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J KUBEL (.260, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Indians 0, Twins 5  Bot 6, 0 OutsAug 3 3:49 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY NICK PUNTO SCORED DENARD SPAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, N PUNTO ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0
    MINNESOTA 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M REDMOND (.276, 0-FOR-2)

    Indians 0, Twins 4  Bot 6, 0 OutsAug 3 3:44 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRIAN BUSCHER SCORED MIKE LAMB.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, B BUSCHER ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0
    MINNESOTA 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: B HARRIS (.261, 1-FOR-1, HR, RBI)

    Indians 0, Twins 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 3 3:28 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY MIKE LAMB SCORED JASON KUBEL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LAMB ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: B BUSCHER (.310, 0-FOR-1)

    Indians 0, Twins 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 3 3:25 PM
  • 5
    roots
    itzmewalli Added 5 roots

    Indians 0, Twins 1  Top 4, 0 OutsAug 3 2:54 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BRENDAN HARRIS (6) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF MATT GINTER.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0, MINNESOTA 1
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: C GOMEZ (.257, 5 HR, 35 RBI)

    Indians 0, Twins 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsAug 3 2:52 PM
  • itzmewalli GO Cisco and the TWINS!

    Indians 0, Twins 0  Top 3, 0 OutsAug 3 2:44 PM