First baseman Chris Parmelee has had up-and-down moments since being called up this month. But he has also been able to show Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and fans at Target Field that he has talent.
Parmelee, a first-round pick in 2006, hit his first major league home run Saturday. The Twins wound up losing 10-4 to Cleveland for their seventh consecutive loss, but Parmelee went 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBI.
On Friday night, Twins outfielder Joe Benson, Parmelee's teammate at Class AA New Britain this season, was 4-for-4 and a homer shy of the cycle.
"They get after the game, they work hard and they are not backing down," Gardenhire said of Parmelee and Benson. "They are going to have some tough at-bats. They are going to have some bad moments. But that's what all kids do. We like what we see."
Parmelee hit a pitch off the inside part of the plate from Cleveland righthander Josh Judy, becoming the first Twins player in 236 plate appearances to hit a home run. Yes, it has been that bad.
Parmelee got the ball from the fan who caught it, exchanging it for an autographed ball.
"I've been thinking about [the first homer] growing up and stuff," Parmelee said. "This is 10 times better. Especially in front of the home crowd. It was amazing."
Swarzak pounded Most of the rest of the game was a dud for the Twins, who are on a seven-game losing streak for the third time this season.
Righthander Anthony Swarzak was pounded for seven runs over 1 2/3 innings, putting the Twins in an early hole.
"I made it very tough on myself to continuously pound the zone and get outs," said Swarzak (3-7). "And I didn't have a very repeatable delivery and got away from some things."
Benson, so impressive at the plate Friday, twice tried to throw runners out at home from right field but sent the throw up the third base line. He also misplayed a Ezequiel Carrera's line drive in the second inning into a triple, although it was a tough play.
Reliever Matt Capps also struggled, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk in the ninth inning. He had to be replaced by Alex Burnett, the eighth Twins pitcher to be used Saturday.
Liriano returns Lefthander Francisco Liriano, who hadn't pitched since Aug. 25 because of a sore left shoulder, threw two scoreless innings in relief Saturday, giving up two hits while striking out three.
Gardenhire said Liriano will probably start next Saturday in Cleveland, when the teams play a day-night doubleheader. Lefthander Brian Duensing, slowed by an oblique strain a couple of weeks ago, probably will relieve Liriano. Duensing pitched one scoreless inning Saturday.
Liriano said it was important for him to pitch before the end of the season.
"You want to go out there and make sure everything is fine before you go home," Liriano said.
Moment for Gordon Longtime Twins radio broadcaster John Gordon, who is retiring at the end of the season, was honored on the field before Saturday's game.
Gordon, who has been with the Twins since 1987, began to choke up when Twins President Dave St. Peter announced the creation of the John Gordon Award, which will be given to the top Twins radio affiliate each year. Gordon then regained his composure to address the crowd about his family; his brief, mediocre pitching career; and his love of the game.
"Hey, Twins fans, touch 'em all!" Gordon said at the conclusion of his speech.
Gordon, 71, will be honored again Sept. 28, the date of his final broadcast.
Etc. • Twins third baseman Danny Valencia missed a second consecutive game because of flu-like symptoms.
• The Twins will leave behind several players after Sunday's game when they head to New York to make up an April 6 rainout against the Yankees on Monday. Other than scheduled starter Scott Diamond, no other members of the rotation will make the trip. And none of the rehabilitating players will travel.
• Infielder Alexi Casilla (right hamstring) said he should be ready to play by Tuesday, when the Twins play Seattle at home.