THAT is what I'm talking about! THAT is the game we all needed to see from Francisco Liriano! I'm sorry I'm using exlamation points, but I'm just THAT EXCITED!
But for one moment, one brief moment, when Willie "My Power Attribute Is A 1" Bloomquist hit that streaking liner over Delmon Young's head into the home run porch, admit it...you thought: here we go again. It's what I thought.
Over the next 6.2 innings, Liriano gave up a walk and just a pair of hits. His slider was wicked, and Kansas City hitters fell away on strikes eight times. He threw strikes, inducing swings on those that dipped away and out of the zone, and he was exactly what he and the team needed him to be. Cisco was efficient.
Orlando Cabrera continues to change my mind day after day, making a fantastic play in the hole to lead off the fourth inning. On a sharp grounder by Billy Butler, Cabrera shifted hard to his right and fell on his knees, glove to the ground to make the snag. He got up, turned and fired a rocket across the diamond--a strike to Justin Morneau at first base. Butler isn't exactly fleet of foot, but it was still a stellar play.
After falling behind 1-0 after the top of the first inning, the Twins gave Liriano the support he needed to pitch aggressively. Brian Bannister retired the first two hitters he faced on the night, before Joe Mauer singled to start what would be a five-run inning. Morneau followed that up with one of his own, and Jason Kubel did the same to tie the contest at one. A fourth consecutive single by Michael Cuddyer gave the Twins their second run, which would ultimately be the last run Minnesota would need.
Then Joe Crede stepped into the box.
Joe Crede the lumberjack.
Joe Crede, he of the oft-injured ilk.
Joe Crede smashed a three-run home run to deep left field. It was a dagger, and it was glorious. Crede picked up a trio of hits on the night, including his 15th jack of the year.
To his credit, Bannister settled down and held the Twins to just two more runs over his six innings of work. But this was the night the Twins needed; from Liriano, from Crede, from everybody...including the Mariners and Red Sox, who took out the White Sox and Tigers, respectively. The rubber match is this afternoon, so let's show the boys some support and pick up a much needed series victory.
Stars of the Game
#3: Jason Kubel (1-for-4, RBI, .094 WPA)
#2: Joe Crede (3-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB, .220 WPA)
#1: Francisco Liriano (7 IP, 8 K, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 R, .091 WPA)