Minnesota Twin Francisco Liriano Pitches the First No-Hitter of 2011

John EwenContributor IIIMay 3, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 18:  Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 18, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

In what has been a forgettable season so far for the Minnesota Twins, the Twinkies begin their attempt at recovery with a no-hitter.

Francisco Liriano held the Chicago White Sox hitless Tuesday in a 1-0 victory. Not only is the no-hitter an impressive accomplishment, Liriano had yet to pitch a complete game in his six-year career.

Chicago had runners on base several times, thanks to the six walks given up by Liriano. The runners would not get much done, as evidenced by the goose egg in both the run and hit column at the end of the night. He threw 123 pitches, 66 for strikes, through the nine innings of work.

Coming off what has been called "The Year of the Pitcher" in 2010, where we saw three no-hitters thrown in the first two months of the season, several had come close in no-hit bids in 2011 to no avail.

Marlin starting pitcher Anabal Sanchez pitched eight innings of hitless ball when he gave up a single to Colorado's Dexter Fowler. Detroit's Brad Penny saw his no-no broken up in the sixth inning courtesy of a questionable call against the same White Sox who fell victim to Liriano on Tuesday. Not to be outdone, White Sox hurler Phil Humber was on his way to a no-hitter until Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez singled in the seventh.

Liriano was able to avoid the bloop single, the home run ball and any other hits that would produce base runners. He managed only two strikeouts, but it was more than enough to get the job done.

Liriano entered the contest with an ERA above nine. Not exactly the perfect no-hitter candidate.

The game ended with a liner hit to shortstop Matt Tolbert off Adam Dunn's bat, who was also one of Liriano's strikeout victims, the other being Ramon Castro.

The Twins owe the win to Jason Kubel's bat, which provided the only run for the Twinkies offense with a solo shot in the fourth.

Now that the first no-hitter of 2011 has been completed, we turn to the next one. What pitcher will be able to hold the opposing team hitless through nine? Will it be a usual suspect like Halladay, or will another Liriano come out of nowhere and blank the opposition?

I for one hope the Mets can finally put a no-no together.

A fan can hope, can't he?