Francisco Liriano needed only 34 pitches to strike out five Tampa Bay Rays over three innings at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, FL this afternoon.
Liriano struck out two in the first, two in the second and one in the third with the other three outs all being 6-3 ground-outs. Liriano used all of his pitches effectively and kept hitters off balance while he was on the mound.
More importantly though, is that Liriano was throwing strikes the entire time he was on the mound, having more than one ball on a hitter only three times, where he was able to limit the batter to two at the most.
The rest of the Twins pitching staff also looked good, allowing only three other base runners until the ninth inning, when a walk, error and single cost the Twins the game.
While the pitching was a bright spot for the Twins today, this hitting was once again lacking. The offense only generated five hits and drew three walks.
Denard Span was the most productive at the plate for the Twins, going 1-for-2 with a walk, two stolen bases and a strikeout.
Twins new-comers Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit combined to go 1-for-4 with a walk. Doumit also hit into a 6-3 double play in the fourth inning with one out and Willingham on first.
Just before the game, the Twins and reliever Glen Perkins agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $10.3 million.