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Liriano Shines in Pitcher's Duel, Twins Win 2-1

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"Tonight's game was exactly like last night's, except in every single way."

So said Twinkie Town's Jon Marthaler on the Twitter, who was able to pull himself away from that kickball contest in southern Africa long enough to watch a fantastic pitching exhibition by Francisco Liriano and Tim Hudson (and Jon Rauch), with Liriano coming away with a brisk 2-1 victory.

The game, which clocked in at 2 hours and 6 minutes, was in doubt for the Twins until the 7th, when they loaded the bases with no outs.  In a departure from form, the Twins took advantage of this situation after a Jim Thome strikeout.  A Jason Kubel single tied the game, and a pinch-hit single by the ever-improving Delmon Young knocked in the winning run.

The story of the night, though, was the pitching.  Francisco Liriano was on, plain and simple.  11 strikeouts, including seven in a row at one point.  The slider was devastating.  He surrendered one lousy run in the 2nd inning on a couple soft liners, a sacrifice and a ground out, and that was it. However, Tim Hudson was making that 1-run lead look like 10, frustrating the Twins until they finally got to him late.  John Smoltz understands the feeling.

Liriano exited the game after the 8th after throwing 105 pitches.  Jon Rauch entered, and provided a relief performance that served as the perfect complement , striking out the heart of the Braves order (Heyward, Jones, Glaus) to end the game.

Studs:

Everyone who pitched tonight. 

Duds:

Everyone who had to hit against them. 

Notes:

  • Liriano tied the Twins record for consecutive Ks in one game, set by Jim Merritt (who?) in 1966.
  • Cuddyer had his bi-weekly outfield assist on someone trying to stretch a single into a double.
  • Tigers beat the Pirates, so the Twins lead remains 4.5 games.
  • R.A. Dickey gave up one run in seven innings for the Mets.  He and Carlos Silva have a combined record of 12-0.  I have no joke here.
  • USA Today's Bob Nightengale Tweeted that the Twins are in line for the 2014 All-Star Game  (hat tip: Cinatyte).  I assume this will be played at Target Field, but they should have it at the Metrodome just to mess with people.

Enjoy your weekend, everybody.