Francisco Liriano continued his impressive spring, pitching 6 innings, giving up 3 H, 3 BB and striking out 8 to lead the Twins to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon in Fort Myers. Liriano's 3 walks increased his spring total to 5, but on a day where he gave up 9 ground ball outs without a single fly out, it was an excellent way to end his spring training. Even though he was facing the Pirates, who are not expected to compete in this year's NL Central division, Pittsburgh chose to leave most of their expected opening day starters at home. By my count, only Bobby Crosby (SS), Ryan Church (CF) and Delwyn Young (2B) played today. But even taking the opposing lineup into consideration, it was another promising outing. And if Liriano can dominate this season, watch out American League!
For the Twins, we very well may have seen the Twins opening day lineup against RHP. With Span, Mauer, Morneau, Thome, Kubel from the left side, and Hudson and Punto switch hitting, I expect today's lineup to give opposing right handers quite a headache. Jason Kubel homered in the 5th to put the Twins up 1-0. In the 7th, a Cuddyer single followed by Thome, Kubel and Hardy walks and a Nick Punto single put the Twins up 3-0. And a Wilson Ramos bomb over the high center field wall in the 8th made it 4-0. Game over.
- Francisco Liriano: 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 8 SO. 9 GB, 0 FB. Solid. Very solid.
- Wilson Ramos: 1 AB, HR. Is this his closing argument for the backup catching role?
- Jason Kubel: 2 AB, HR. Boy, if he can build on a solid 2009 season, wow.
- Drew Butera: In order to get him an at bat, Gardy pinch ran him for Thome. Then in his one at bat, he doubled to right field in the 8th.
Duds: Nope. I'm not going there today. Sure, Orlando Hudson and Justin Morneau went a combined 0-6, but I'm having nothing but good vibes at this point. So there.