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L.A. Dodgers000100100262
Minnesota «06001200x9152

Twins clobber Dodgers, rookie Liriano earns eighth win of season

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Francisco Liriano is making an early case for the American League Rookie of the Year award.

Liriano threw seven sharp innings and Joe Mauer had a career-high five hits to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-2 Tuesday night.

Liriano allowed two runs and five hits. He struck out eight for the Twins, who have won six straight and 14 of 15. They are 12-2 in interleague play.

"For two young men to do what they are doing, that's incredible," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said of Mauer and Liriano.

Liriano (8-1), who moved into the Minnesota rotation May 15, has won six of seven starts. His ERA is 1.76 and opponents are hitting .170 against the 22-year-old over that span.

"It's very early in his career, but I was very fortunate to see Pedro (Martinez) in Boston," Dodgers starter Derek Lowe said. "Liriano is very similar as far as velocity, throwing any pitch at any time. When you have that kind of stuff, it's easy to be as poised as he is."

Minnesota, 26-10 at the Metrodome, has won nine straight at home, holding each opponent to less than four runs, the first time the team has done that since it relocated from Washington in 1961. The team ERA in those games is 1.39.

Lowe (6-4) allowed six runs in the second inning and lost for the first time since May 16. He was 5-0 with two no-decisions in his previous seven starts.

The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the second and Lowe hit Jason Bartlett to make it 1-0. Luis Castillo then hit a two-run single and Nick Punto followed with a triple to drive in two more runs. Mauer added a run-scoring single.

Mauer has six RBIs in the first two games of the series. He is 13-for-17 with seven RBI in five career games against Los Angeles.

"I'm not trying to do too much. I'm just trying to take what they give and it worked out tonight," he said.

Mauer has at least four hits in a game four times this season, and is the first Minnesota player since Kirby Puckett on July 25-26, 1988, to have at least four hits in back-to-back games. He went 5-for-5 against the Dodgers to raise his batting average to .389, tops in baseball, after going 4-for-5 Monday.

"He's dedicated, he comes out and does his work and he's got a great swing and you're seeing that," said Gardenhire, who won his 400th game as the Twins' skipper.

Lowe allowed a season-high nine earned runs and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings in his shortest outing since opening day. His ERA increased from 2.90 to 3.49. Lowe, who was coming off a complete game win against Seattle on Thursday, dropped to 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA and three saves in 11 career appearances in the Metrodome.

"I really don't know if I could pitch that bad if I told them what was coming," he said. "For me it was demoralizing because in the last few games I've turned things around after a bad first start."

Liriano kept the Dodgers' hitters off balance by mixing 96 mph fastballs with changeups and a nasty slider.

"I had everything working tonight," he said. "I missed a couple pitches, made a couple mistakes and got hurt."

One of those was a home run to Jeff Kent, who sees a bright future for the left-hander.

"You just can't give a guy like that six runs," Kent said. "He's a young guy, but he's got the makings of being a great starter in this league."

Liriano's first pitch was hit by Rafael Furcal for a single, but Liriano struck out two of the next three batters. He also struck out two of the three batters he faced in the second inning.

"He's got some of the best stuff I've ever seen," Mauer said. "With him going out there we feel pretty good about our chances of winning."

Nomar Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a fourth-inning home run for Los Angeles, which entered the night a half-game ahead of San Diego in the NL West.

Notes

  • The Dodgers placed RHP Brett Tomko on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 24 with a left oblique strain.
  • Minnesota's Justin Morneau has hit safely in 17 of 18 games, batting .403 in that stretch.
  • Castillo knocked his own helmet off when a foul ball went off the plate and hit the underside of his brim. He hit a two-run single on the next pitch.
  • Los Angeles has lost 14 straight games in American League ballparks.
  • Garciaparra has reached base in 47 of his last 48 games.
 
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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The Twins' Nick Punto reacts after producing a two-run triple in the second inning.  (AP)
The Twins' Nick Punto reacts after producing a two-run triple in the second inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Mauer
AB 5
R 1
H 5
HR 0
RBI 1
Los Angeles

N. Garciaparra
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS4020001 .260
Cesar Izturis, 3B4000011 .333
Nomar Garciaparra, 1B4111004 .362
Jeff Kent, 2B3111011 .275
    Ramon Martinez, 2B1000001 .340
J.D. Drew, RF3010010 .282
    Andre Ethier, LF1000000 .323
Olmedo Saenz, DH4000021 .296
Matt Kemp, CF4000031 .306
Jose Cruz Jr., LF-RF3000010 .232
Russell Martin, C3010002 .301
Totals342620912 
Batting
HR - Nomar Garciaparra (10, Liriano), Jeff Kent (9, Liriano)
RBI - Nomar Garciaparra (47), Jeff Kent (40)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Izturis-Kent-Garciaparra
E - Rafael Furcal (17, Wild throw), Cesar Izturis (1, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Derek Lowe (L,6-4) 5.11299230 3.49
Joe Beimel 2.2300110 3.45
HBP - Bartlett (by Derek Lowe)
WP - Joe Beimel (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 100-61, Joe Beimel 53-33
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 8-5, Joe Beimel 4-3
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 31, Joe Beimel 12
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B5112002 .276
Nick Punto, 3B5222011 .281
Joe Mauer, C5151000 .389
Michael Cuddyer, RF4000103 .268
Justin Morneau, 1B4011024 .281
Torii Hunter, CF4221001 .265
    Lew Ford, CF1010000 .221
Jason Kubel, LF4110113 .291
Ruben Sierra, DH3100104 .192
Jason Bartlett, SS3122000 .364
Totals3891593418 
Batting
2B - Torii Hunter (11, Beimel)
3B - Nick Punto (2, Lowe)
SF - Justin Morneau (6)
RBI - Luis Castillo 2 (29), Nick Punto 2 (10), Joe Mauer (37), Justin Morneau (63), Torii Hunter (42), Jason Bartlett 2 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter (15), Jason Bartlett (2)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Punto-Castillo-Morneau
E - Justin Morneau (5, Misplayed grounder), Nick Punto (6, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Francisco Liriano (W,8-1) 7522082 2.21
Kyle Lohse 2100010 8.49
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 86-63, Kyle Lohse 33-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 10-4, Kyle Lohse 4-1
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 27, Kyle Lohse 7
Game Information
Attendance - 30681
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Tim Welke