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The Tigers roughed up Liriano in a 9-3 rout Monday, and after the game, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced that Liriano is still suffering from soreness in his left forearm.
“It’s a muscular problem—as the game was going on, he started to feel it,” Gardenhire said. “We had him checked out before, and everything was fine, but we’ll have him checked out again. It’s muscles, not his elbow.”
After facing the Tigers on July 28, Liriano (12-3) missed his next start because of inflammation in the forearm. The rest did not seem to help, as he gave up four runs and a season-high 10 hits in just four innings. He struck out five.
“It started bothering me in the second inning,” said Liriano, who was taken out after four innings. “It really bothered me. I couldn’t throw fastball, changeup, slider or anything.”
Liriano has a 7.63 ERA against Detroit this season, more than five times higher than his ERA (1.39) against the rest of the majors, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn’t think his team has found any answers.
“That young man has three strikeout pitches, when most guys are lucky to have one,” he said. “Trust me, we aren’t comfortable against him. When you throw 97, with that slider and that changeup, he’ll be in the league for a long time, and no one will ever be comfortable against him.”
Zach Miner (7-2) won the duel of rookie starters, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
“Against that guy, you know you have to be on,” he said. “He’s not going to give you many chances.”
“We knew before the season that we could win some games,” Curtis Granderson said. “We didn’t expect this.”
The Twins had their four-game winning streak snapped and now trail Detroit by 10 1/2 games in the AL Central.
“Every time you make a mistake against that team, they make you pay for it,” Gardenhire said.
Liriano struck out batters with a runner on third to escape each of the first two innings, but the Tigers got two runs in the third and two more in the fourth.
The Twins got a run back in the top of the fourth on an RBI double by Justin Morneau, but Liriano continued to struggle.
Thames led off the fourth with a 442-foot shot to left-centerfield, the longest homer this season at Comerica Park, and Placido Polanco added an RBI single later in the inning.
Joe Mauer moved the Twins within 4-3 in the sixth with his 10th homer, but the Twins failed to take advantage of a scoring chance in the next inning.
Minnesota had runners on the corners with one out in the seventh, but Jason Bartlett hit a soft liner that third baseman Brandon Inge caught on the run. Inge then threw to first to double off Jason Tyner.
“Those were probably the two biggest outs of the game,” Leyland said. “You don’t expect to get two in that situation—not with that guy running.”
Detroit scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the game away. With one out, Ordonez had an RBI single and a second run came home when right fielder Michael Cuddyer overran the ball.
After two walks, Granderson’s two-out single scored Ordonez and Carlos Guillen to give the Tigers a five-run lead.
Craig Monroe made it 9-3 with his 19th homer in the eighth inning.
The longest homer in Comerica Park history is 461 feet by Carlos Pena last season. … Liriano has allowed nine earned runs in Detroit this season, only two fewer than he has given up at the Metrodome. … The Twins are 0-7 in Detroit this year. They entered the season with a 32-20 record in Comerica Park’s first six seasons. … Miner’s win was the 27th by a Tigers rookie this year, the most for Detroit since first-year pitchers also won 27 games in 1955. … Bartlett had his nine-game hitting streak snapped.