9:25 p.m. EDT: The Twins said it was actually Liriano’s recent illness that caused his departure after three innings. Liriano, who was originally supposed to pitch Monday, was pushed back until today because of a sore throat and other flu-like symptoms.
Francisco Liriano was checked on by the Twins trainer with an apparent leg issue during an intentional walk in the third inning Tuesday and didn’t come back out for the fourth against the Tigers.
Liriano, who was coming off a no-hitter against the White Sox, gave up a two-run homer to Jhonny Peralta in the second inning, snapping his streak of hitless innings. He went on to give up two more runs after the intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera in the third.
Liriano appeared to tweak the knee of his landing leg on the second pitch of the intentional walk, which ended up quite a bit higher and further off the plate than expected. After two warmup throws, he made it clear he was fine to stay in. However, given his struggles and history of arm problems, the Twins probably didn’t want to risk anything by letting him come back out for another inning. He had thrown just 29 of his 59 pitches for strikes.
Brian Duensing, who was on his throw day in between starts, came in to begin the fourth inning with the Twins down 4-0.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.