Twins cruising behind Francisco Liriano, lead Yankees

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The Twins are wearing the pinstripes this evening at Target Field.  That’s not a metaphor, it’s the truth.  The Twins are wearing pinstripes.  Let’s get to the updates…

Francisco Liriano got himself into trouble in the top of the third inning with a leadoff walk to Yankees speedster Brett Gardner, who stole 47 bases in 56 chances during the regular season.  Derek Jeter then followed with a sharp single to left field that fell just in front of Delmon Young.  But Nick Swisher flied out, Mark Teixeira did the same and a strikeout of Alex Rodriguez brought the Minnesota faithful to its feet.

Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson punched a single into left field to open the bottom of the frame and then advanced to third base on a soft infield groundout by Joe Mauer.  A passed ball one pitch later allowed “The O-Dog” to cross the plate and put the Twins up 3-0 after three innings.

Liriano rattled off a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth, retiring Robinson Cano on a groundout, Marcus Thames on a flyout and Jorge Posada on a gorgeous strikeout.  The Twins lefty, who fanned 201 batters in 191-plus innings during the regular season, is absolutely coasting through four innings against baseball’s most productive lineup.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.