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Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Postgame: Twins took advantage of Liriano's control while they could

    TORONTO — A couple of extras after the Twins reached eight consecutive losses for the third time this season:

    The Twins had a plan for facing Francisco Liriano, and it worked pretty well. The strategy: Try to stay off the slider and let Liriano’s frequent problems with command work against him.

    Sure enough, Liriano walked four batters, and the Twins drove three of them home. But the lefthander, dealt away by the Twins four years ago, struck out seven and managed to limit the damage by giving up only two hits over his short five-inning start. One of them was a fastball that Liriano's former teammate, Trevor Plouffe, crushed over the center field fense, his first home run since July 1. The other was a double to the wall in left-center by Kurt Suzuki, which drove in two runs.

    Still, the Jays scored 15 runs behind him, and Liriano earned his seventh win of the season.

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    Ervin Santana gets the start on Saturday, which is good news for the Twins, considering he owns a 1.72 ERA over his last 10 starts. On the other hand, Santana hasn’t beaten Toronto since 2011, going 0-4 since then.

    “I don’t think Ervin is going to change what he does,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “A young guy like Pat [Dean], without a lot of experience coming in here, it’s hard to be the same guy. Ervin doesn’t seem to change, environment to environment, team to team. He knows these guys, he’s faced them. They’ve got a nice environment going here, but hopefully he can hold it down and we can have another good offensive day.”

Molitor calls team meeting in Toronto: 'This is important time for some'

    TORONTO — Paul Molitor called his team together before batting practice to deliver a message: “Show me what you can do.”

    The Twins, on a seven-game losing streak as they embark on a six-game road trip against a pair of first-place teams, will need to fight to avoid 100 losses. Molitor wants to make sure the Twins have that fight in them.

    “I want to get them focused on where we’re at and what we have left,” the manager said. “I wouldn’t call it a state of the union, but sometimes you have to collectively get perspective.”

    Molitor said he isn’t a believer in using the possibility of being a “spoiler” as motivation, because he wants the Twins focused on themselves. While there’s nothing to play for in the standings, he said, there’s plenty to play for in regards to their own future.

    “I want them to go out there and let it fly the last five weeks. Show us what you can to,” Molitor said. “This is an important time for some people.”

    As for tonight’s game, against former Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano, the Twins will be without first baseman Joe Mauer for a third straight game. Mauer, recovering from sore quads, was feeling good enough to play today, but Molitor chose to hold him back, mindful of what’s ahead. “We’re playing up here on turf over the weekend and [there’s] another lefthander out there tonight,” Molitor said. “Give him a third day today and hopefully he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

    Speaking of ready to go, Alex Wimmers, the Twins’ first-round draft pick in 2010, is in uniform No. 51 and ready to make his major league debut. He was informed of his call-up during a bus ride last night outside Norfolk, Va., and by almost random chance, happened to have his passport with him. Lucky break.

    Here are the lineups for tonight’s first game at Rogers Centre, where the Twins are only 8-23 over the past decade:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Grossman LF

Plouffe 1B

Sano DH

Kepler RF

Polanco SS

Escobar 3B

Suzuki C

Rosario CF

 

Dean RHP

 

BLUE JAYS

 

Bautista RF

Donaldson 3B

Encarnacion DH

Martin C

Tulowitzki SS

Upton CF

Barney 2B

Smoak 1B

Carrera LF

 

Liriano LHP

Final, 8/26 R H E
Minnesota 49-79 8 9 2
Toronto 72-56 15 15 1