Liriano Is Really Good at Baseball Again; Twins Defeat Tigers 2-0



10 strikeouts, 8 shutout innings, and a slider that made the opposing team look stupid.  This was your typical Francisco Liriano start in the first half of 2006.  Four long, frustrating years later, and it's starting to look like it's also your typical Francisco Liriano start of 2010.

In a game where the Twins yet again failed to break the game open despite multiple opportunities to do so, the Tigers had no chance against the Twins resurrected ace, as Liriano and the Twins triumphed 2-0. 

Justin Verlander deserves some credit for keeping the Twins in check, as he recovered quickly from his mistakes (a double here, a triple there) and shut down any possible rally.  In particular, he had Justin Morneau completely over a barrel, striking him out three times.  (Morneau was removed from the game after the third K with a sore back.  In his postgame news conference, Ron Gardenhire said that it was Morneau's upper back that stiffened up, blaming the cold and Verlander in equal measure, and saying he didn't want to take any chances.  The MVP first baseman is day-to-day.)

The Twins finally drew blood in the 6th on a two-out walk by Jim Thome, who rumbled home after a deep J.J. Hardy fly clanged off the heel of Ryan Raburn's glove.  The Twins would go on to load the bases and not score any more runs, as is their wont.  The second run scored on a poor throw by Scott (I'm Not Grady) Sizemore on a Thome grounder that allowed Michael Cuddyer to head home in the 7th. Thome would be your Twins offensive MVP of the night, as he reached base four times.

And that was all Liriano would need.  He extended his scoreless innings streak to 23 innings and baffled the Tigers hitters all night.  He was fantastic.  Jon Rauch pitched the ninth and worked around a leadoff single for the save.

Notes:

Denard Span was ejected in the 8th for arguing a godawful called 3rd strike. With Morneau already out of the game, this meant the Twins had to get clever in the field, putting Cesar Tovar in right field for the duration of the game*.  Joe Mauer struck out on a similar travishamockery of a called 3rd strike in the 9th, but kept his mouth shut. 

*Not accurate.

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