Twins-Indians Preview

Francisco Liriano’s recent run of dominance includes a win over

Cleveland. Beating the Indians has been a regular occurrence for

the Minnesota pitcher this season.

Riding a 21-inning scoreless streak, the Twins left-hander tries

for a fifth straight victory overall and fourth this season over

the Indians on Friday night at Progressive Field.

Liriano (10-7, 3.18 ERA) is in the midst of his second four-game

winning streak of the year. He went 23 innings without allowing a

run over three starts in April and can surpass that total with

another strong effort Friday.

He’s allowed two runs and struck out 33 in 28 2-3 innings while

winning his last four outings. Liriano has not won five consecutive

starts since winning six straight from June 11-July 8, 2006. He

gave up two hits and matched a season high with 11 strikeouts over

seven innings of a 4-0 win over Seattle on Sunday.

“I’m very confident,” Liriano told the Twins’ official website.

“I’m just trying to go out there and do my job and not try to

overdo things.”

Liriano has been tough on the Indians (46-63), winning all three

matchups this season while posting a 1.23 ERA with 23 strikeouts in

22 innings. He allowed six hits and struck out eight in seven

innings of a 6-0 win July 21.

“He looks good,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He looks like

a top of the rotation type of guy right now to me.”

Liriano is 2-1 in four starts at Progressive Field despite a

5.49 ERA.

Minnesota (61-48), which won two of three in its only series at

Cleveland, tries for a third straight victory after taking the

final two of a four-game set at Tampa Bay.

After blowing a six-run lead, the Twins got a go-ahead single

when Jason Kubel’s popup hit a catwalk at Tropicana Field and fell

in fair territory during a two-run ninth inning in Thursday’s 8-6

victory.

Joe Mauer and Delmon Young each had RBI doubles as Minnesota won

for the 10th time in 12 games to remain 1 1/2 games behind

first-place Chicago in the AL Central.

“We’ve just got to keep playing the way we’re playing and we’ll

be OK,” Liriano said.

Mauer, used as the designated hitter the last three games

because of shoulder problems, is 17 for 30 with 14 RBIs in his last

eight games. The All-Star could be back behind the plate against

the Indians, a team against which he’s 5 for 21 this season.

The Twins will get their first look at Jeanmar Gomez (2-0,

1.50), who looks to become the first Indians pitcher since Scott

Lewis in 2008 to win his first three career starts.

The 22-year-old right-hander has allowed two runs and five hits

in each of his first two starts, the latest coming in five innings

of a 5-4 win at Toronto on Sunday.

Cleveland has won four of six overall but is coming off a 6-2

loss at Boston on Thursday. Shin-Soo Choo had two hits, including

his 14th homer.

The right fielder is batting .346 in 14 games since a stint on

the disabled list with a thumb injury, but he’s 3 for 24 with 10

strikeouts versus Minnesota this season.