Tigers give Twins a jolt
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Victor Martinez had three hits and four RBIs to push the Detroit Tigers past Francisco Liriano and the Minnesota Twins in a 10-2 rain-delayed victory on Tuesday night.
Jhonny Peralta's two-run homer in the second inning ended Liriano's bid for back-to-back no-hitters, and the left-hander's outing was over after three innings due to an illness.
Brennan Boesch drove in two runs for the Tigers, who have won four straight and seven of eight overall. Rick Porcello (3-2) pitched five crisp innings, allowing one run and three hits.
Rene Tosoni hit his first career homer, but the stumbling Twins managed only five hits and dropped their majors-worst record to 12-22.
The Johnny Vander Meer jokes and references stopped soon after Liriano (2-5) took the mound on this muggy, 87-degree night.
He got the first four outs, but after a walk to Martinez, Liriano left a fastball over the plate for Peralta to smash into the left-field seats and make it 2-0.
Then in the third inning, Liriano had trouble even putting one of his intentional-walk pitches to Miguel Cabrera in the right place. His pitching coach, manager and athletic trainer all paid a visit.
After a warmup, Liriano stayed on the mound -- and promptly served up a sharp two-run single to Martinez to stretch the lead to four. Brian Duensing, whose last start was limited to two innings by a rain delay, came out of the bullpen for the fourth, and the weather became dangerous in the bottom of the frame.
With the darkened sky drenching downtown Minneapolis, hail as big as golf balls began to drop. Some of the more daring fans stayed in the seats to capture the storm on camera and playfully toss ice chunks at each other to pass the time. Some Twins players, standing in the dugout, tried to catch the hail in their mouths.
As the grounds crew used a riding blower and rakes to clear the ice off the grass, Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander -- apparently relaxed by his no-hitter over the weekend -- picked up a bat and took a few swings while teammate Phil Coke tossed him some hail balls.
The delay lasted 64 minutes.
Liriano's feat, becoming less rare in this pitching-rules era, has been about the only celebratory moment for Minnesota as the quarter mark of this season approaches. The crowd cheered as highlights from last week's no-hitter were shown on the videoboard before the game, but the bounce the Twins hoped to get from that didn't happen.
Liriano reverted to the rough form he's shown in almost every other start, and the Tigers took advantage. He allowed three hits, walked three and struck out one.
Vander Meer is still the only major leaguer ever to throw a no-hitter in consecutive starts, accomplishing the feat with the Cincinnati Reds in 1938.
Martinez has made an immediate impact in his first season with the Tigers, the first of a four-year, $50 million contract. He has a hit in 10 straight games, with a homer, 11 RBIs and a .472 batting average during the streak.
Porcello, facing a team that's last in the majors in scoring and last in the league by more than 20 runs, was strong enough before the delay that he came back for two more innings after the tarp came off.
Tosoni's towering home run to right was the only blemish on an 83-pitch performance that included two walks. Porcello won his third straight decision, with just seven runs allowed in 31.2 innings over his last five starts.
Tigers starters are tied with the defending American League champion Texas Rangers for the most wins from the rotation, 16, and they have 25 quality starts of six innings or more and three runs or less in 37 games.
The Tigers (19-18) moved above the .500 mark for the first time since April 26. They've had a winning record for all of five days this season, but the Twins haven't even reached par in the standings.
NOTES: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he hoped to have LF Delmon Young back for Friday's game. Young is playing in extended spring training games in Florida, recovering from a strained left oblique muscle that's kept him out for the last 18 games. ... The Tigers arrived in town well past midnight and will leave less than 40 hours later after this two-game series, but manager Jim Leyland isn't about to complain about the schedule. "We get tired like everybody else. So what? So do the other teams. So do the guys getting up at 5:30 every morning to go to work," he said. ... Tosoni, a native of Canada, was called up two weeks ago.