Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Francisco Liriano hurls no-hitter vs. White Sox

There was quite a bit of pressure of Twins starter Francisco Liriano entering last night's start against the White Sox.

Before last night's game, Liriano posted a record of 1-4 with an ERA of 9.13 and 18 walks in 23 2/3 innings pitched and the team had the fewest wins (nine) in all of baseball.

Liriano's spot in the rotation was on the line as manager Ron Gardenhire had said last week, "That's kind of why we're working on [Kevin] Slowey, getting him stretched out, in case we decide after this next start whether we're going to do something or not."

And, boy, did he deliver by throwing the franchise's first no-hitter since 1999 and the fifth in team history.

"I'm pretty excited," Liriano said, per Rhett Bollinger of "I can't explain myself right now. I'm very happy, very excited. I had a rough start to the season, so it's very exciting."

Liriano was helped out by some nice plays in the field and he walked six batters, but his no-no should help restore his confidence, as pitching coach Rick Anderson notes.

"I'm excited as can be about the no-hitter, but I'm even more excited the confidence is there," Anderson said. "I can't wait for the next start. And that's what he needed -- confidence. Hopefully, this is a confidence thing, and it's something we all need to get our strut and our swagger back. I think we all needed that. And that's a big step."