Twins take another pounding

The Tigers scored five runs before a rain delay that included hail cleanup. When play resumed, they scored five more.

There were more firsts at Target Field on Tuesday. The first game played during a tornado warning. The first game delayed by a storm that included golf ball-sized hail. The first game in which a tractor pulling a jet blower rolled around the outfield to blow hail away.

"And it just makes perfect sense,'' designated hitter Jason Kubel said. "Why not?''

The Twins were pounded on with hail while being pounded on by the Tigers in a 10-2 loss, as their calamitous season continues.

"It's definitely frustrating,'' Kubel said. "It's not too much fun. We are getting beat pretty good most of the time too.''

Their inability to overcome injuries combined with more self-inflicted damage -- nine walks by the pitching staff on Tuesday, for example -- has them reeling in the AL Central Division.

Every loss eats up more of their small margin for error as they wait, and wait, for the revival to come.

A 64-minute rain delay -- highlighted by the hail that clanged off the canopy and filled the grass -- proved to be an intermission between the walks and the whompings that Detroit hitters laid on Twins pitching. The Tigers scored five runs before the rain delay and five runs after the delay while winning their fourth consecutive game.

Fans cheered before the game as the Twins replayed highlights of starter Francisco Liriano's no-hitter against the White Sox last Tuesday. Then Liriano showed that it was not going to be another magical night.

The first hit off Liriano was a thunderous two-run homer into the left field seats by Jhonny Peralta in the second. That ended Liriano's no-hit string at 10 1/3 innings and 37 batters without a hit before that blast.

While executing an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera in the third inning. Liriano looked distressed and had to be visited by team trainers for a few moments. Liriano stayed in the game -- giving up a two-run single to Victor Martinez -- but gave way to lefthander Brian Duensing in the fourth because of he was sick.

"He got sick and was having troubles out there after he went to first base,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Liriano. "He stopped, took a couple deep breaths, threw a couple pitches. He finished the inning, but once he got in the dugout he had a hard time breathing.''

They called in Duensing, who was scheduled to start Friday in the series opener against Toronto.

Duensing will now start Sunday, with righthander Carl Pavano moving up to start Friday and righthander Nick Blackburn starting Saturday.

In three innings, Liriano, 2-5, gave up four runs on three hits with three walks and one strikeout.

The Twins offense mustered little against Tigers righthander Rick Porcello, 3-2, before and after the weather delay.

Kubel had just singled and Justin Morneau was at the plate when the rain began in the bottom of the fourth and eventually was joined by hail. So much hail filled the field that it had to be raked and blown off before play could resume.

Players from both teams sat in their respective dugouts and watched the hail come down. Then the Tigers grabbed their bats and went to work, again, on the Twins.

"It's not going to get better by sitting back and having a pity party,'' Duensing said. "We have to go out there and find a way to get it done.''

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Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 1
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