Michael Cuddyer knocked in three runs, Denard Span rapped four singles, and Francisco Liriano pitched more than seven strong innings to get his first win of the season as the Twins defeated Detroit 7-2 at Comerica Park.
Said Ron Gardenhire, "It was nice to see Frankie have a good outing - he's got a big smile on his face. We all know that he's not an 0-4 pitcher."
Liriano outlasted Detroit's Edwin Jackson, who matched the Twins starter pitch for pitch over the game's first six innings. To that point, the game was knotted at 1-1, and while Liriano had allowed only a Miguel Cabrera solo home run, Jackson had scattered four Twins hits and given up only Cuddyer's RBI single.
But the Twins finally got to the Tiger righty in the seventh. A leadoff single by Justin Morneau and a hard-fought walk by Jason Kubel set the table for Joe Crede, who lifted a double to right field that scored Morneau. Cuddyer then hit Jackson's first pitch over center fielder Curtis Granderson's head, a triple that drove in in both runners, and the Twins were on the way to blowing the game open.
Alexi Casilla also plated a pair in the seventh with a two-run single (all the more amazing, considering it was his first hit of the year right-handed that wasn't a bunt), and a pitcher's duel had become a Twins cruise.
The Tigers briefly threatened in the eighth, as Placido Polanco's double put runners on second and third and knocked Liriano from the box, but Matt Guerrier induced a pair of ground-ball outs to get out of the jam. Guerrier also pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the game.
NOTE: First-base coach Jerry White had to be dragged off the field in the eighth inning after being hit with a line drive off the bat of Joe Crede. X-rays were negative; White has a "foot contusion," and is presumably day-to-day. Joe Vavra took over coaching duties following the injury. Said Gardenhire, "That was the entertainment for the night."
After the jump, the three Twins stars of the night.
3. Denard Span
The outfielder continued his hot hitting, going 4-5 and raising his average to .323. "It feels good, just to come in here and get four hits and help the team win tonight," he said.
2. Francisco Liriano
The starter put together his best start of the year - and got a much-deserved first victory. "Franchise" struck out a season-high nine batters in 7.1 innings, allowing two runs on just four hits and three walks along the way. Apart from Cabrera's home run, and two hits in the eighth when maybe he should have been out of the game, Liriano was nothing short of dominant.
1. Michael Cuddyer
Don't give up on Cuddles just yet. The right fielder was 2-3 with an RBI single and a 2-RBI triple, he's hit in six straight games, he has three multi-hit games in a row, he has extra-base hits in four consecutive games. Over those last six games, he's hitting .500 with a .640 on-base percentage.
Do I have you convinced yet? It's nice to see him getting hot...