The AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins have been adept at
grinding out victories. When Francisco Liriano has pitched
recently, those wins have come slightly easier.
Liriano seeks to extend his winning streak to a career-high
seven games Wednesday night when the Twins continue their
three-game series with the Detroit Tigers.
Manager Ron Gardenhire admitted Tuesday’s 4-3 win was an “ugly
game.” Two errors led to all three Tigers runs, there were
baserunning blunders and injuries to Jason Kubel, possibly Orlando
Hudson and closer Brian Fuentes – adding to a team already
The biggest injury concern may be Fuentes, whose back locked up
on him in the bullpen and could be sidelined for a few games. Matt
Capps pitched the ninth for his seventh save with the Twins and
33rd overall, capping a stellar relief corps effort that
contributed 2 1-3 scoreless innings to help Minnesota rally from a
“We all try to build off each other,” Jesse Crain said.
”Everyone out there, we’ve all been in hold situations, save
situations. So we feel anytime we go out there we treat it the same
way, as if it’s the ninth inning.”
Despite the injuries, Minnesota (76-56) is still four games
ahead of the White Sox in the division and sends its staff ace to
the mound in Liriano (12-7, 3.41 ERA). The left-hander is 6-0 with
a 2.47 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break and was
efficient in outpitching Cliff Lee on Thursday, giving up two runs
in seven innings of a 6-4 win over Texas.
“When I can throw my changeup, things go better for me,”
Liriano said. “I was getting ahead in the count and focusing on
getting the first hitter.”
This is the third time in Liriano’s career he has carried a
six-game winning streak into a start, also doing so in 2006 and
2008. He has struggled in his last two starts against the Tigers
since beating them April 27, getting tagged for 13 runs and 15 hits
in 7 2-3 innings.
Miguel Cabrera is 6 for 15 with three doubles and a homer versus
Liriano, who is 4-3 with a 5.24 ERA in 10 starts and 14 lifetime
appearances versus the Tigers.
Tigers counterpart Max Scherzer (10-9, 3.60) also is pitching
well of late. He has won three straight starts and has a 1.31 ERA
over his last six. The right-hander allowed a solo homer and little
else to the Toronto Blue Jays in eight innings of a 7-1 victory
“You can see him on the mound, he has a mound presence that is
saying ‘Hey, I’m doing pretty good and I feel pretty good about
myself,”’ manager Jim Leyland said. ”You’d be a fool if you can’t
Scherzer endured two miserable starts against the Twins in a
five-day span earlier this season, going 0-1 with an 18.00 ERA. He
allowed a season-worst 10 runs in 4 1-3 innings in a 10-4 defeat
May 3 and failed to last five innings in either outing.
Detroit has dropped four of six since winning five straight.