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Twins 2, Mariners 1: Liriano and Cuddyer Break the Losing Streak

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After a sad day in which Twins fans everywhere mourned the passing of Harmon Killebrew, the Twins finally ended their losing streak with a tense 2-1 victory tonight at Safeco Field. For a change, the offense got this one started early, as Felix Hernandez got into early trouble with walks to Denard Span and Jason Kubel in the first. After Justin Morneau grounded out to advance the runners, Michael Cuddyer took advantage of a hanging slider, lining a single to center to put the Twins up 2-0.

Liriano took advantage of the early lead, as he dominated the Mariners over seven innings, giving up only three hits and one walk while striking out nine. He ended up only giving up one run, in the fifth inning, as the Mariners put together a two out rally and Ichiro Suzuki scraped a fastball off the ground for a run scoring single. But other than that, Liriano was in control, with 72 strikes out of 110 pitches and getting ahead with strike one pretty much all night.

Hopefully, tomorrow in Oakland the Twins can make it two in a row. Studs, duds and notes after the jump.

Studs:

  • Francisco Liriano: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1BB, 9 SO. As much as I like the nine strikeouts, given Liriano's control problems I like the only one walk even more.
  • Michael Cuddyer: 2-3, 2 RBI, BB. Pretty much the only offense the Twins managed all night.
  • Glen Perkins: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 SO. Dominated the 8th with a nine pitch perfect inning.
  • Matt Capps: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO. In his first save opportunity in over a week, Capps came up big to shut the door.

Duds:

  • Pretty much the rest of the offense. Granted, Felix Hernandez was nasty tonight, but it was more of the same quick outs, one pitch at bats we've been seeing all season.

Notes:

  • As MNWildcat pointed out in the comments tonight, Hernandez managed to do something many of us have wanted to do all season...throw something at Alexi Casilla! Leading off the top of the fifth, King Felix hit Casilla in the foot with a curve ball. Of course, the inning ended with a Jason Kubel double play.
  • After the Casilla HBP, Denard Span tried (and failed) to get a bunt down. In general, I don't agree with a sacrifice bunt with no one out and a runner on first before the 8th or 9th inning. But against Felix Hernandez, the way the Twins offense has been going, can't say I disagree with the strategy.
  • Liriano had thrown 97 pitches through six innings. Fortunately, Gardy left him out there for the 7th, and Liriano responded with a 1-2-3 inning and two more strikeouts.
  • Matt Capps gave up his first walk of the season, to Miguel Olivo in the ninth. The next batter, Jack Cust, grounded down the third base line to Danny Valencia, who threw to Casilla at second. Replays appeared to show that Olivo beat the throw (though his foot may not have reached the bag...it was pointing upward), but the Twins caught a huge break as he was called out. However, the next batter lined a one hopper right at Casilla, so it probably would have been a double play to end the game in any case.