Friday's game was, by all purposes, won by Liriano. You can, actually, give credit to a few others, but mainly, it was Fransisco Liriano's outing and Joe Mauer's home run off of Felix Hernandez that probably sealed the deal in last night's victory.
It was actually an impressive overall effort by the pitching staff. The Twins pitching held this line last night: nine innings, seven hits, one run, one walk, and ten strikeouts. Of course, Liriano's six Ks probably helped alot, but Matt Guerrier, Juan Rincon, and Joe Nathan all did fine out of the bullpen as well. It was once again further proof that Liriano's banishment to the bullpen to start the year may have been awfully foolish. Sure, he gave the Twins some good innings down there, but considering the starts Carlos Silva made (he replaced Silva, remember), or for that matter Lohse, made instead of him, it probably would have worked better if he had starter in the rotation.
Consider the game a few Sundays back against the White Sox that the Twins could have easily won, as they scored seven runs against Mark Buerhle. But Silva easily gave those back. As far as I'm concerned, Liriano would not have done that. Looking back on how many awful starts Silva had (9 runs against Detroit, 8 against Anahiem, and so on), Liriano probably would have been worth a few more wins. The good news is, of course, he managed to beat Felix Hernandez, another phenom pitcher with amazing stuff.
Last night, I was actually at the game. I had the best seats I've ever had, as I was literally right behind home plate. Some bad experiences ensued (there are some really jerks in those seats, unfortunately), but what a view. Boof looked a little shaky, despite his three strikeouts in the first inning. He managed to get by with five Ks in five innings of work, but the eight hits and four runs weren't great to see. And, from those seats, Raul Ibanez's three-run shot got out very quickly.
When Jesse Crain came in the game in the eight, with the score at 8-4, I was actually excited. Not because he was going to pitch good, but because it meant that I might get to see Joe Nathan pitch from that distance. As I predicted, he coughed up a run, but in a very interesting fashion: Juan Rincon came in to relieve Crain after the bases were loaded. Kenji Johjima stepped up and hit a grounder to second. Sexson did score, but three outs were recorded as Adrian Beltre was tagged, Johjima was out at first, and Carl Everett was caught leaning off of third base. That was also nice to see. However, since the Twins scored in the ninth, Juan got the save and not Nathan.
The Twins did muster a fair amount of offense against Jamie Moyer and the Mariners. Juan Castro homered and went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI. That guarantees at least two more weeks at the bigs. (Sigh) Michael Cuddyer had a great night, going 2 for 3 with a two-run home run in the third to put the Twins up 5-4. Joe Mauer also had two hits to raise average to .340 and Luis Castillo had three, as the Twins went 14 for 36 on the night, scoring nine runs in a victory.
Overall, it was a great game to see. In two nights, thats one save (Nathan) and two victories (Bonser, Liriano) that the Twins got from players acquired in the AJ deal. The Giants really have to kick themselves for everytime that happens. A sweep is likely as well now, with Johan taking the mound tommorow. Lets enjoy creaming the hapless Mariners and hopefully, the Twins can start a streak.