Riding a 21-inning scoreless streak, the Twins left-hander tries for a fifth straight victory overall and fourth this season over the Indians on Friday night at Progressive Field.
Liriano (10-7, 3.18 ERA) is in the midst of his second four-game winning streak of the year. He went 23 innings without allowing a run over three starts in April and can surpass that total with another strong effort Friday.
He’s allowed two runs and struck out 33 in 28 2-3 innings while winning his last four outings. Liriano has not won five consecutive starts since winning six straight from June 11-July 8, 2006. He gave up two hits and matched a season high with 11 strikeouts over seven innings of a 4-0 win over Seattle on Sunday.
“I’m very confident,” Liriano told the Twins’ official website. “I’m just trying to go out there and do my job and not try to overdo things.”
Liriano has been tough on the Indians (46-63), winning all three matchups this season while posting a 1.23 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 22 innings. He allowed six hits and struck out eight in seven innings of a 6-0 win July 21.
“He looks good,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He looks like a top of the rotation type of guy right now to me.”
Liriano is 2-1 in four starts at Progressive Field despite a 5.49 ERA.
Minnesota (61-48), which won two of three in its only series at Cleveland, tries for a third straight victory after taking the final two of a four-game set at Tampa Bay.
After blowing a six-run lead, the Twins got a go-ahead single when Jason Kubel’s(notes) popup hit a catwalk at Tropicana Field and fell in fair territory during a two-run ninth inning in Thursday’s 8-6 victory.
“We’ve just got to keep playing the way we’re playing and we’ll be OK,” Liriano said.
Mauer, used as the designated hitter the last three games because of shoulder problems, is 17 for 30 with 14 RBIs in his last eight games. The All-Star could be back behind the plate against the Indians, a team against which he’s 5 for 21 this season.
The 22-year-old right-hander has allowed two runs and five hits in each of his first two starts, the latest coming in five innings of a 5-4 win at Toronto on Sunday.
The right fielder is batting .346 in 14 games since a stint on the disabled list with a thumb injury, but he’s 3 for 24 with 10 strikeouts versus Minnesota this season.