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Updated: May 8th, 2010 3:54pm
Mackey: Liriano suffers beating via paper cuts

Mackey: Liriano suffers beating via paper cuts

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by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Francisco Liriano reiterated multiple times in his post-game press conference that Saturday afternoon's 7-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles was just "one of those days."


Liriano allowed five earned runs on 10 hits in six innings, which adds up to his worst start of the season. Liriano also walked one and struck out three, while throwing 94 pitches.

The boxscore makes it look like Liriano took a thumping, but in reality the Orioles used a barrage of paper cuts to methodically knock the Twins' ace to the canvas.

"I think I made some good pitches, but it's just one of those days," Liriano said. "A lot of groundballs for hits, and a little blooper for a hit too, so there's nothing I can do about that."

After Justin Morneau's blast into the right field overhang gave the Twins a 2-0 lead in the first inning, the Orioles followed with a groundball single to left by Nolan Reimold, a soft flare single to right by Cesar Izturis, and another soft single to right by Julio Lugo, loading the bases with one out.

After Adam Jones popped up to Brendan Harris at shortstop, Nick Markakis took a fastball off the trademark and blooped it into centerfield to score two runs.

The paper cut barrage continued in the fourth inning for Baltimore, who scored three more runs off two groundball singles and two infield singles. The first groundball single, by Cesar Izturis, rolled just past a diving Harris. J.J. Hardy may have fielded it, but he remains sidelined with a sore wrist.

"A lot of groundballs," Liriano said. "I want to get some groundballs, but they find the holes.

"I made some good pitches, and you make some good pitches and they still get a base hit. There's nothing I can do about it... It's part of the game."

As for the extra day of rest, Liriano's fastball was clocked between 91 and 93-mph most of the afternoon, according to MLB.com's Pitch F/X data. His fastball averages 93.6 mph for the season.

"I think I didn't have my fastball today," Liriano said. "I didn't have my stuff today... It's just one of those days where you don't feel that great, and you just have to battle through it."

Liriano shrugged off the notion that his 123-pitch outing earlier this week affected his "stuff" on Saturday. The extra day of rest yesterday should have helped, hypothetically.

Either way, nothing to be concerned about here. Liriano entered Saturday's game ranked ninth in the American League for most groundballs induced -- a very good sign for his continued success.

Sometimes those grounders just find their way to the outfield.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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