Francisco Liriano has brought no-hit stuff to the mound plenty of times in his 95 major league starts, but this was a major upset:
1. Liriano entered tonight 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP this season. He was very much in danger of losing his rotation spot to Kevin Slowey with another bad outing.
2. Liriano had never pitched a complete game as a major leaguer. He had gotten just one out in the seventh inning this year.
3. He was at 86 pitches after six innings tonight. He hadn’t thrown more than 97 pitches in a game this season, and had he thrown 20-25 pitches in the seventh tonight, he might not have been brought back out for the eighth even if he still had the no-hitter intact.
Liriano, though, shook it all off and became the first Twin to throw a no-hitter since Eric Milton in a 1-0 win over the White Sox tonight. He outpitched Edwin Jackson, who famously threw a 149-pitch no-hitter for the Diamondbacks last year.
Liriano ended this one at 123 pitches. He was able to finish it off because he threw just seven pitches in the seventh and eight in the eighth. Double plays after three of his six walks helped a bunch, as did some fine plays from Denard Span and Danny Valencia.
The Twins will hope that it’s a turning point for Liriano or maybe even for the team as a whole. For what it’s worth, Liriano never looked as dominant tonight as he did at certain points during his strong 2010 season. A team hitting better than the White Sox are very possibly would have gotten to him tonight. Still, it was obviously a big step in the right direction for Liriano, and it means that if Slowey is going to replace anyone in Minnesota’s rotation, it will be Nick Blackburn.
NEW YORK — With star outfielder Adam Jones nursing a tender hamstring, the Baltimore Orioles selected the contract of Julio Borbon from Double-A Bowie and optioned pitcher Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk.
Borbon was inserted in the starting lineup for Baltimore, batting ninth against hard-throwing New York Yankees rookie Chad Green.
“We had some other center field options,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Borbon is our best option at this point.”
Jones left Friday’s game in the second inning with a left hamstring strain. He departed the previous night’s game at Washington in the ninth inning with hamstring cramps and aggravated the injury hustling down the first base line on a soft grounder to third.
“I got a feeling that if he hadn’t had that first swinging bunt, it might not have been a problem,” Showalter indicated. “He’s not going to trot to first base as much as I talked to him about it before the game.”
Although Jones was unable to talk his way into Saturday’s lineup, Showalter speculated that he might be available to pinch-hit.
The 30-year old Borbon was 2 for 9 in five games with the Orioles earlier this season, but was designated for assignment on July 26. To create room for Borbon on the 40-man roster, pitcher Logan Ondrusek was designated for assignment on Friday.
Good news in Boston: An MRI on Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi‘s left knee revealed no structural damage.
Benintendi slipped while trying to avoid a tag at second base, injuring his leg, but it appears he’s avoided a serious injury. A timetable for his return isn’t known at this point, but the Red Sox expect to get him back before the end of the season.
Benintendi is hitting .324/.365/.485 with a homer and ten RBI in 21 games.