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Detroit at Minnesota

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Detroit001001001371
Minnesota «00110104x7110

Twins 7, Tigers 3

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- In his final start of the season, rookie Francisco Liriano finally showed the Minnesota Twins a glimpse of his potential.

Liriano allowed five hits in seven innings for his first major league win, and Justin Morneau hit a grand slam to lead the Twins over the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on Friday night.

"He threw as good as we were expecting and hoping he'd throw," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was throwing the fastball, using the fastball, locating the fastball and working off of that. Once he does that, his slider and changeup are unbelievable."

Liriano (1-2) tied a career high with eight strikeouts and outpitched Mike Maroth (14-14), who failed in his attempt to become the first Tigers left-hander with 15 wins since Justin Thompson in 1997.

Morneau broke open the game in the eighth with his first career grand slam off Jamie Walker, spoiling a solid start from Maroth.

Maroth wasn't bad, he just wasn't as sharp as Liriano. Maroth gave up four runs and nine hits with three strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.

"The guy has definitely done everything in his power," manager Alan Trammell said. "I just wish we could've gotten him that win. Nevertheless, he's done a very nice job for us. That's the point I hope gets across. This guy, like others, probably deserves better."

Brandon Inge homered for the Tigers, who lost their third in a row as the season winds to a close, which certainly isn't helping Trammell's chances at returning for another season.

The former star shortstop for the Tigers has one year remaining on his contract and said he could hear as early as Monday from ownership whether he will be asked back for another season.

"I can't even, it's just almost too much to take to be honest with you," Trammell said of his team's struggles. "It's like we can't catch a break. In light of us struggling, it's just not coming easy, all the way until the end."

Liriano was the biggest reason for Trammell's latest loss. With a fastball that touched 96 mph to complement a biting slider, Liriano delivered his best start since being called up from Triple-A on Sept. 2, throwing just 72 pitches and not walking a batter.

"That's what I was looking for from my fastball," Liriano said. "I was really in control."

It was an about-face from his two previous starts. Liriano threw 98 pitches in six innings of a loss to Chicago in his last start, and 93 pitches in just 3 2/3 innings of a loss to Oakland on Sept. 20.

In between starts, Liriano went to 2004 AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana for advice. Santana has a similar pitching style based on a hard slider and superb changeup.

"He's been great to me," Liriano said. "To get a chance to talk to Santana between starts, it's been great."

Juan Rincon pitched a perfect eighth and Jesse Crain allowed a sacrifice fly to Magglio Ordonez in the ninth.

Liriano cruised through the first five innings, making just one mistake to Inge in the third. He left a pitch up in the zone, and Inge drove it 406 feet to right-center field to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

Inge nearly took a run away from the Twins in the bottom of the inning when he made a diving stop at third of a grounder by Luis Rodriguez. But Inge's throw from his knees to home was a little left of the plate, allowing Jason Bartlett to score and tie the game.

Matthew LeCroy broke out of an 0-for-17 slump in the fourth when he hit his 16th homer of the season into the seats in left, giving the Twins their first lead at 2-1.

The Tigers seemed poised for a big inning in the sixth when they had three one-out singles in a row, the last one coming from Placido Polanco that scored Infante to tie the game. But Liriano got Chris Shelton to ground into a double play to end the inning.

It's been that kind of year for Maroth and the Tigers, who hope Trammell gets one more chance to prove himself with an improving club.

"I'd like to see him back. I think he's come a long way as a manager," Maroth said. "We had a lot of injuries this year, that's kind of limited our success.

"His first year he really wasn't managing, he was teaching. There wasn't much he could do. For him to go through that and even last year ... we still didn't have a lot of options."

If Liriano continues to progress, the Twins will have plenty of options in their starting rotation with him, Santana, Carlos Silva and Brad Radke.

"I'll be better next year," the big lefty said. "I'll be more confident with myself and way more comfortable out there."

Notes

Inge's homer gave the Tigers at least one extra-base hit in 69 of their last 70 games and 57 home runs in their last 39 games. ... Craig Monroe came into the game with a .368 career batting average in 47 games against Minnesota, but he went 0-for-4 on Friday night.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Minnesota

F. Liriano
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 0
K 8
 

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Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF4120020 .279
Placido Polanco, 2B4011001 .334
Chris Shelton, 1B4010011 .297
Magglio Ordonez, RF3011000 .299
Craig Monroe, LF4000021 .277
Carlos Guillen, DH3000010 .320
Brandon Inge, 3B3111000 .261
Vance Wilson, C3000010 .203
Omar Infante, SS2110010 .223
   a- Carlos Pena, PH1000010 .237
    John McDonald, SS0000000 .276
Totals31373093 
a-struck out for Infante in the 8th
Batting
2B - Curtis Granderson (6, Crain)
HR - Brandon Inge (16, Liriano)
SF - Magglio Ordonez (7)
RBI - Placido Polanco (56), Magglio Ordonez (46), Brandon Inge (72)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
E - Brandon Inge (23, throwing error)
Detroit Tigers
Mike Maroth (L,14-14) 7.2944131 4.73
Chris Spurling 0.1122100 3.44
Jamie Walker 0.1111011 3.70
IBB - Jones by Chris Spurling
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Maroth 112-66, Chris Spurling 10-4, Jamie Walker 5-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Maroth 10-7
Batters Faced - Mike Maroth 30, Chris Spurling 3, Jamie Walker 2
Minnesota Twins
Nick Punto, 2B4010001 .241
Luis Rodriguez, 3B4011001 .263
Lew Ford, LF3220110 .263
Matthew LeCroy, DH4131001 .258
    Jason Tyner, PR-DH0100000 .306
Jacque Jones, CF2111100 .250
Michael Cuddyer, RF4010014 .263
Terry Tiffee, 1B3000003 .207
    Justin Morneau, 1B1114000 .236
Chris Heintz, C4000021 .227
Jason Bartlett, SS3110000 .243
Totals3271172411 
Batting
HR - Matthew LeCroy (16, Maroth), Justin Morneau (22, Walker)
SF - Jacque Jones (4)
RBI - Luis Rodriguez (19), Matthew LeCroy (47), Jacque Jones (73), Justin Morneau 4 (78)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau 4 (34)
SB - Jacque Jones (13, 2nd base off Maroth/V. Wilson), Jason Bartlett (4, 2nd base off Maroth/V. Wilson)
CS - Nick Punto (8, 2nd base by Maroth/V. Wilson), Luis Rodriguez 2 (3, 2nd base by Maroth/V. Wilson, 2nd base by Maroth/V. Wilson)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jacque Jones 1
DP - Rodriguez-Tiffee
Minnesota Twins
Francisco Liriano (W,1-2) 7522081 5.70
Juan Rincon (H,24) 1000010 2.47
Jesse Crain 1211000 2.39
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 72-55, Juan Rincon 14-8, Jesse Crain 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 7-4, Juan Rincon 1-1, Jesse Crain 2-1
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 24, Juan Rincon 3, Jesse Crain 5
Game Information
Attendance - 18725
Game Time - 2:12
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Angel A. Hernandez, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Tim McClelland