Cleveland at Minnesota

W: F. Liriano (2-0) L: D. Huff (1-2)
HR: CLE - None   MIN - M. Cuddyer (3)

Liriano's arm, Cuddyer's bat help Twins handle Indians wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- There was a time when Francisco Liriano was nearly unhittable, an intimidating force at the top of the Minnesota's rotation that piled up strikeouts while the Twins piled up victories.

Many thought that pitcher was gone forever after Tommy John surgery in 2007. It's very early in this 2010 season, but signs of the old Liriano are finally starting to resurface.

Liriano struck out six in eight scoreless innings to lead the Twins to a 6-0 victory against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.

Liriano (2-1) allowed six hits and walked two and Michael Cuddyer had a home run, a triple and three RBI for the Twins, who are off to an 11-4 start thanks partly to Liriano regaining his form from 2006 when he was an All-Star.

"We all know the story," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Francisco Liriano was fantastic."

David Huff (1-2) gave up only three hits in six innings for the Indians. But he walked six and allowed four runs before Aaron Laffey gave up a two-run triple to Cuddyer in the eighth that put the game out of reach.

The Twins have used 11 walks and sterling starting pitching to take the first two games of the series.

Liriano went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121 innings as a rookie All-Star in 2006. But he missed all of 2007 after the surgery and has been slow to work his way back.

He went 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA last season and there was a talk about him moving from the rotation to closer when Joe Nathan went down in spring training.

All that talk is over now. One day after Kevin Slowey went eight innings in a 5-1 victory, Liriano dropped his ERA to 1.29 and received a standing ovation as he walked off the mound after the eighth.

"It's nice," Liriano said with a wide smile. "I didn't hear that last year. Them supporting me, it's a great feeling."

Brendan Harris had an RBI single and Denard Span followed with another single that scored two runs for a 3-0 lead in the second. Cuddyer hit a solo home run to right field in the sixth.

With Liriano humming right along against an overmatched Indians offense, that was plenty for the Twins.

"Watching him from center field, I'm glad I'm not hitting against him," Span said of Liriano. "It looks nasty."

The lefty retired 10 of the first 12 hitters he faced, then worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth when he got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into an inning-ending double play.

"We just need to keep working," Cabrera said. "We also need to give credit to their pitchers. They're good and they've been doing a good job."

Liriano wasn't quite as sharp with his fastball as he was in his previous start, when he struck out eight in seven scoreless innings of a victory against Boston. But then again, he didn't have to be.

The Indians have been terrible offensively early this season, beginning the day last in the AL in batting average (.214) and slugging percentage (.338) and second-to-last in runs (46) and on-base percentage (.303).

"It's tough when you have so many guys struggling," said manager Manny Acta, whose Indians fell to 6-8. "That's why I say I feel thankful to be where we're at right now."


  • Acta said closer Kerry Wood (back) will throw a simulated game in Oakland on Friday before the team makes a decision on what to do next.
  • Indians top prospect Carlos Santana had to be helped off the field for Triple-A Columbus after fouling a ball off his left knee. He is listed as day to day with a bruised left knee.
  • Twins RHP Nick Blackburn (elbow soreness) threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and is on track to start on Saturday.
  • Twins 3B Nick Punto (groin) missed his fifth consecutive game.
  • Twins RHP Pat Neshek (finger) played catch on Wednesday and could throw a bullpen session on Thursday, Gardenhire said.
Copyright 2017 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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In his past two starts, Francisco Liriano has allowed 10 hits and four walks in 15 scoreless innings.  (AP)
In his past two starts, Francisco Liriano has allowed 10 hits and four walks in 15 scoreless innings. (AP)

Players of the Game

M. Cuddyer
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

F. Liriano
IP 8.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 2
K 6

Related Video

Cleveland Indians
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS4010011 .288
Grady Sizemore, CF4000021 .191
Shin-Soo Choo, RF4010011 .313
Austin Kearns, LF4010021 .320
Travis Hafner, DH4010001 .234
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4010001 .211
Jhonny Peralta, 3B2010201 .140
Matt LaPorta, 1B3000014 .200
Mike Redmond, C3010000 .190
2B - Austin Kearns (4, Liriano), Travis Hafner (2, Crain)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Grudzielanek-A. Cabrera-LaPorta, Grudzielanek-A. Cabrera-LaPorta
Cleveland Indians
David Huff (L,1-2) 6344611 3.00
Tony Sipp 1000010 5.40
Aaron Laffey 1322010 5.40
WP - David Huff (1)
Pitches-Strikes - David Huff 102-61, Tony Sipp 21-13, Aaron Laffey 24-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Huff 5-10, Aaron Laffey 2-0
Batters Faced - David Huff 25, Tony Sipp 3, Aaron Laffey 6
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF2012200 .259
Orlando Hudson, 2B4000003 .259
Joe Mauer, C3110101 .346
Justin Morneau, 1B4110001 .333
Michael Cuddyer, RF4123000 .344
Jason Kubel, DH2100221 .196
Delmon Young, LF4000002 .233
J.J. Hardy, SS2100101 .228
Brendan Harris, 3B3111011 .227
3B - Michael Cuddyer (1, Laffey)
HR - Michael Cuddyer (3, Huff)
RBI - Denard Span 2 (6), Michael Cuddyer 3 (13), Brendan Harris (4)
2-OUT RBI - Denard Span 2 (3), Brendan Harris (1)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Harris-Hudson-Morneau, Harris-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Francisco Liriano (W,2-0) 8600260 1.29
Jesse Crain 1100010 9.00
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 102-70, Jesse Crain 23-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 10-6, Jesse Crain 1-1
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 30, Jesse Crain 4
Game Information
Attendance - 39044
Game Time - 2:29
Temperature - 58
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Bob Davidson