La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins postgame: Twins win third straight

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 2, 2011 - 12:57 AM

Some quick notes:

Francisco Liriano has a ERA of 2.91 over his last nine starts. He struggled early with command, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire gave catcher Joe Mauer a lot of credit for helping Liriano slow down his delivery and hit spots.

Liriano threw 74 pitches over the first four innings but just 30 over his last three.

Mauer is batting .400 over his last six games. Mauer was going to hit, and it looks like he's starting to get his timing down. He was 3-for-4 on Friday.

``You're going to see a lot more of it, just mark my word,'' Gardy said. ``For those of you around here long enough you've seen it plenty of times and those of you who doubted him you should slap yourself right in the face. Go ahead, all you guys who doubt him because he's pretty damn good.''

Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless eighth inning, consistently hitting 93 with his fastball. He still doesn't have the slider from hell he used to throw but got swings and misses with very good placement.

Gardy also praised the left side of his infield, which I better make sure is read somewhere.

``(Danny) Valencia had a hell of a game at third base, made a lot of nice plays,'' Gardy said. ``Nishi had a good ballgame. We played some really good defense behind (Frankie) him.''

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