Liriano Tosses No-Hitter Against Sox
For the first time since September of 1999, Twins fans got to witness a Minnesota Twins no-hitter! Francisco Liriano came into the game with an ERA over 9 and a managerís threat that if he didnít pitch better, he could be replaced in the Twins rotation by Kevin Slowey. He proceeded to walk the first batter he faced, Juan Pierre. But he got a double play. He got another inning-ending double header in the 2nd. It was anything but pretty. Liriano needed 123 pitches to throw his first career complete game. He threw just 66 strikes to go with 57 balls.
In a season that has been so rough for the Twins and so disappointing for their fans, a no-hitter certainly brings excitement. I obviously knew he was throwing the no-hitter early. In the 4th inning, I was already wondering how many innings he could get through. Danny Valencia made an absolutely remarkable play behind 3B in the 7th inning. Playing a deep 3B, Valencia went quickly to the foul line, and although the ball took a funny bounce, he made the play, planted and made a really strong throw to 1B. With a runner on in the 8th inning, Gordon Beckham grounded into a double play, even if he really was not tagged by Justin Morneau. Hey, Iím a Twins fan. I was just fine with that call.
On the first play of the 9th inning, Matt Tolbert fielded a ground ball, took about six or seven steps and threw to 1B. Justin Morneau made a tremendous scoop. It may have been an error to Tolbert, but would have been another out that Liriano would have needed to record. After a third walk of Juan Pierre, Liriano got Alexei Ramirez to pop out to shortstop. After falling behind Adam Dunn 3-0, he forced a full count and Dunn lined a shot to the glove of Matt Tolbert. The no-hitter was complete.
In that ninth inning, I couldnít even type .It was the first butterflies and nerves that I have felt in a long time!
Considering where Francisco Liriano was coming into the start. Considering where the Twins were at as a team coming into the game. Despite the walks. It was pretty great to witness a no-hitter.
Does it mean that the Twins will suddenly turn things around and start winning? Of course not, but hopefully! Does it help answer where the Twins will get production from their offense? No. But for the day, who cares? Letís just enjoy it!
The last Twins pitcher to take a no-hitter into the 9th inning was Scott Baker against the Royals. He issued a walk to break up the no-hitter, and then Mike Sweeney came on to pinch hit and blooped a single.
The last Twins pitcher to complete a no-hitter was Eric Milton in September of 1999 against the Angels. It was an 11:00 game on a Saturday morning that wasnít even televised. The Twins lineup on that day was: Jacque Jones (CF), Denny Hocking (SS), Matt Lawton (RF), Terry Steinbach ( C), Todd Walker (DH), Corey Koskie (3B), Torii Hunter (LF), Doug Mientkiewicz (1B), Cleatus Davidson (2B).
Ramon Ortiz started that game for the Angels. Steve Mintz gave up a run in the 8th inning for the Angels. He has been coaching in the Twins organization since 2002 and he is now the pitching coach of the Ft. Myers Miracle.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.