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

Kansas City - LP: B. Finnegan 4 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 11
Detroit 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 2
Washington 3 FINAL
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 31 FINAL
Penn State 24
(20) USC 21 FINAL
(19) Utah 24
(14) Arizona State 24 FINAL
Washington 10
Nevada 26 FINAL
Hawaii 18
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
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: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close