The Tigers roughed up Liriano in a 9-3 rout Monday, and after the game, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced that Liriano is still suffering from soreness in his left forearm.
"It's a muscular problem -- as the game was going on, he started to feel it," Gardenhire said. "We had him checked out before, and everything was fine, but we'll have him checked out again. It's muscles, not his elbow."
After facing the Tigers on July 28, Liriano (12-3) missed his next start because of inflammation in the forearm. The rest did not seem to help, as he gave up four runs and a season-high 10 hits in just four innings. He struck out five.
"It started bothering me in the second inning," said Liriano, who was taken out after four innings. "It really bothered me. I couldn't throw fastball, changeup, slider or anything."
Liriano has a 7.63 ERA against Detroit this season, more than five times higher than his ERA (1.39) against the rest of the majors, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn't think his team has found any answers.
"That young man has three strikeout pitches, when most guys are lucky to have one," he said. "Trust me, we aren't comfortable against him. When you throw 97, with that slider and that changeup, he'll be in the league for a long time, and no one will ever be comfortable against him."
Zach Miner (7-2) won the duel of rookie starters, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
"Against that guy, you know you have to be on," he said. "He's not going to give you many chances."
"We knew before the season that we could win some games," Curtis Granderson said. "We didn't expect this."
The Twins had their four-game winning streak snapped and now trail Detroit by 10½ games in the AL Central.
"Every time you make a mistake against that team, they make you pay for it," Gardenhire said.
Liriano struck out batters with a runner on third to escape each of the first two innings, but the Tigers got two runs in the third and two more in the fourth.
Vance Wilson led off the third with a double, took third on a groundout and scored on Ivan Rodriguez's two-out single. Ordonez followed with a double to make it 2-0.
The Twins got a run back in the top of the fourth on an RBI double by Justin Morneau, but Liriano continued to struggle.
Thames led off the fourth with a 442-foot shot to left-centerfield, the longest homer this season at Comerica Park, and Placido Polanco added an RBI single later in the inning.
Joe Mauer moved the Twins within 4-3 in the sixth with his 10th homer, but the Twins failed to take advantage of a scoring chance in the next inning.
Minnesota had runners on the corners with one out in the seventh, but Jason Bartlett hit a soft liner that third baseman Brandon Inge caught on the run. Inge then threw to first to double off Jason Tyner.
"Those were probably the two biggest outs of the game," Leyland said. "You don't expect to get two in that situation -- not with that guy running."
Detroit scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the game away. With one out, Ordonez had an RBI single and a second run came home when right fielder Michael Cuddyer overran the ball.
After two walks, Granderson's two-out single scored Ordonez and Carlos Guillen to give the Tigers a five-run lead.
Craig Monroe made it 9-3 with his 19th homer in the eighth inning.
|Rookie Zach Miner wins his seventh game, striking out three with no walks in 6 1/3 innings. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Luis Castillo, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.283|
|Nick Punto, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.308|
|Joe Mauer, C||4||1||1||2||0||1||1||.363|
|Michael Cuddyer, RF||4||1||1||0||0||2||1||.269|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||.323|
|Torii Hunter, CF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.277|
|a- Rondell White, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.223|
|Jason Kubel, DH||3||0||2||0||0||0||1||.273|
|Josh Rabe, PR-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.316|
|Jason Tyner, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.326|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||3||.370|
|a-struck out for Hunter in the 9th|
|2B - Michael Cuddyer (28, Miner), Justin Morneau 2 (24, Miner, Miner), Jason Kubel (6, Miner)|
|HR - Joe Mauer (10, Miner)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (62), Justin Morneau (99)|
|2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau (44)|
|SB - Nick Punto (12, 2nd base off Miner/V. Wilson)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Punto-Castillo-Morneau|
|E - Michael Cuddyer (2, )|
|Francisco Liriano (L,12-3)||4||10||4||4||0||5||1||2.19|
|IBB - Guillen by Jesse Crain|
|WP - Francisco Liriano (9)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 67-46, Pat Neshek 24-16, Jesse Crain 32-15, Willie Eyre 21-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 5-1, Pat Neshek 2-1, Jesse Crain 2-0, Willie Eyre 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 21, Pat Neshek 6, Jesse Crain 8, Willie Eyre 5|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||4||1||2||1||1||0||1||.299|
|Craig Monroe, DH||4||2||3||1||1||1||1||.276|
|Ivan Rodriguez, 1B||3||1||1||1||0||0||3||.307|
|Brent Clevlen, LF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.455|
|Magglio Ordonez, RF||5||1||2||2||0||1||1||.298|
|Carlos Guillen, SS||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.306|
|Marcus Thames, LF||3||1||1||1||0||1||1||.273|
|a- Sean Casey, PH-1B||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||.285|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||2||1||.245|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||3||0||1||2||0||1||1||.279|
|Vance Wilson, C||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||.283|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Thames in the 7th|
|2B - Magglio Ordonez (23, Liriano), Carlos Guillen (31, Liriano), Vance Wilson (9, Liriano)|
|HR - Craig Monroe (19, Eyre), Marcus Thames (21, Liriano)|
|SH - Ivan Rodriguez (2), Curtis Granderson (7)|
|RBI - Placido Polanco (43), Craig Monroe (62), Ivan Rodriguez (51), Magglio Ordonez 2 (79), Marcus Thames (46), Curtis Granderson 2 (52)|
|2-OUT RBI - Placido Polanco (14), Ivan Rodriguez (24), Magglio Ordonez (26), Curtis Granderson 2 (18)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Polanco-Rodriguez, Inge-Rodriguez|
|Zach Miner (W,7-2)||6.1||7||3||3||0||3||1||4.05|
|Joel Zumaya (H,24)||1.2||1||0||0||1||2||0||2.01|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zach Miner 81-54, Joel Zumaya 28-18, Jason Grilli 10-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Miner 12-3, Joel Zumaya 1-1, Jason Grilli 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Zach Miner 25, Joel Zumaya 6, Jason Grilli 3|
|Attendance - 34870|
|Game Time - 2:32|
|Temperature - 81|
|Umpires - Home - Mark Carlson, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - Wally Bell|