Liriano's no-hitter a tremendous turnaround

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2011 - 7:05 AM

Francisco Liriano, who had an awful time on the mound in April, began May with a stunning no-hitter -- the first no-hitter, shutout and complete game of his career.

CHICAGO - Francisco Liriano said it was the eighth inning Tuesday night before it started sinking in that the Chicago White Sox didn't have a hit.

To finish the no-hitter, Liriano needed to finish the whole game, something the Twins lefthander hadn't done in 204 previous professional starts between the minors and majors.

"To be honest, I was running out of gas in the ninth," Liriano said.

Manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson wanted Liriano to make history in the worst way, but he walked six batters, and his pitch count reached 116 with one out to go.

Asked if he was sticking with Liriano all the way, Gardenhire replied: "How far is all the way? He can only load the bases and then probably something's gotta happen."

It never came to that, as Adam Dunn hit a screaming liner right at shortstop Matt Tolbert, giving the Twins a badly needed 1-0 victory at U.S. Cellular Field and giving Liriano the fifth no-hitter in Twins history.

Catcher Drew Butera ran to the mound and hugged Liriano, who offered a quick smile, as his teammates mobbed him in the infield.

"I was pretty excited," Liriano said. "I can't explain myself right now. I had a rough start to the season, so it's very exciting."

Rough is an understatement. Liriano (2-4) entered with a 9.13 ERA and might have been pitching for his job.

Before the game, Gardenhire said Kevin Slowey likely will come off the disabled list this weekend when the team is in Boston. The Twins have Slowey penciled in for a long-relief role.

"That's the plan," Gardenhire said. "But that could change in two days."

Gardenhire and called Liriano into the manager's office last Friday at Kansas City. They showed him a graphic that displayed his erratic release point.

Two days later, Anderson told Liriano just to be himself.

"My biggest job with the pitchers isn't mechanics," Anderson said. "It's keeping them mentally positive and keep them confident they can do it. It would've been easy for Frankie to get down and overthrow in a game like he has been, but he kept fighting and was confident he could do it. That's a tribute to him."

Liriano finished with 123 pitches, matching his career high. He threw 123 pitches in a seven-inning victory over Cleveland at Target Field on May 2, 2010.

"I just thank my teammates," Liriano said. "They made some great plays behind me tonight. I couldn't do it without them."

The Twins' lone run came on Jason Kubel's fourth-inning homer off Edwin Jackson (2-4), who walked eight batters and threw 149 pitches in a no-hitter for Arizona last season.

The highlight was Danny Valencia's play down the third base line to rob Carlos Quentin of a hit to end the seventh inning.

It was the Twins' first no-hitter since Eric Milton defeated the Angels 7-0 on Sept. 11, 1999.

In the Twins dugout, nobody mentioned the no-hit possibilities, at least not to Liriano.

"No one was talking," Gardenhire said. "It's all superstitious stuff. Frankie was doing his things. I think everybody probably sat in the same seats and did the same stuff between innings."

But with the Twins off to a 9-18 start and on a six-game losing streak, and with Liriano's place in the rotation teetering, the tension was palpable.

"I almost threw up," Gardenhire said. "I'm telling you. Top of the ninth, I had to run up and grab a bottle of water because I had nothing in my throat. I couldn't spit. I wanted it for him so bad, that your mouth gets so dry."

But this time, Liriano finished the job.

"It's such a nice thing to see the young man smile like that," Gardenhire said. "He lifted everybody up in this clubhouse, and we definitely needed to be lifted up. It takes a superhuman effort like that, and that's what we got tonight."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Houston 7:00 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Utah 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Portland 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Golden State
San Jose 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Toronto 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:30 PM
Montreal
Arizona 7:00 PM
Nashville
Carolina 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Chicago
Vancouver 7:30 PM
Dallas
Florida 8:00 PM
Colorado
Tampa Bay 8:00 PM
Calgary
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close