Twins Daily: Liriano bounces back with solid outing in Oakland
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A solid bounce-back performance by Francisco Liriano and an offensive barrage led by Trevor Plouffe and Michael Cuddyer lifted the Minnesota Twins to a 9-5 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
After perhaps his most disappointing outing of the year against Detroit on Sunday, Liriano bounced back and delivered seven solid innings against the A's on Friday night, allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four.
The Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning courtesy of a two-RBI double by Jason Kubel off A's starter Gio Gonzalez. A run-scoring double-play ball by Michael Cuddyer in the third inning, and an RBI single by Trevor Plouffe in the fifth inning made it 4-2, followed by Ben Revere's bases-loaded walk in the sixth which put the Twins in front 5-2.
Plouffe added an RBI single in the eighth and Cuddyer delivered a three-run homer two batters later to push the margin to 8-2.
Jose Mijares gave three runs back in the bottom of the eighth inning when Josh Willingham hit a three-run homer to left field.
Two key groundball double plays induced by Liriano helped keep the Twins in front before the eighth-inning barrage.
With the Twins holding a 3-2 lead, Liriano gave up a leadoff double to Hideki Matsui to start the bottom of the fourth inning, then walked Connor Jackson two batters later to put runners on first and second with only one out.
The next batter, David DeJesus, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Two frames later, DeJesus bounced into another 4-6-3 double play, leaving the A's trailing 5-2.
16: Home runs for Cuddyer.
6: Games started at first base for Joe Mauer.
17: Stolen bases for Revere this season.
4: Hits for Matt Tolbert in eight at-bats since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
• 1B Justin Morneau (neck surgery, wrist) hit in the cage for the first time since surgery, and his migraines are now gone, according to MLB.com. It's possible he could begin a rehab assignment, or play in simulated games, sometime in the near future.
The series continues Saturday (8:05 p.m., 1500 ESPN) when right-hander Nick Blackburn (7-7, 4.21) takes on right-hander Guillermo Moscoso (3-5, 3.47).
Since watching his ERA dip to 3.15 in late June, Blackburn has given up five earned runs or more in four of his six starts, most recently a nine-run (six earned) beat-down at the hands of the Texas Rangers on Monday night. Blackburn lasted just 2 2/3 innings, and the Twins wound up losing 20-6. Blackburn was also on the losing end of a 15-0 thrashing against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 27. He hopes to turn things around.
Blackburn's opponent, Moscoso, has bounced up and down from Triple-A, and despite a respectable ERA, he is likely due for a downward turn in the near future. Moscoso has been an extreme flyball pitcher this year (only 27% grounders), and he has punched out only 30 batters in 59 2/3 innings.
• Sunday: @ Oakland, 3:05 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (6-7, 4.60) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-5, 3.52)
• Monday: Off day
• Tuesday: @ LA Angels, 9:05 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (8-8, 4.35) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (6-8, 3.47)