Twins tie team record with 17 strikeouts against Tribe

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Francisco Liriano and four Minnesota Twins relievers struck out Cleveland batters so swiftly, the Indians never knew what happened.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Francisco Liriano and four Minnesota Twins relievers struck out Cleveland batters so swiftly, the Indians never knew what happened.

Liriano fanned 10 in five innings as the Twins tied a 40-year-old team record with 17 strikeouts overall in a 3-1 win over the struggling Indians Sunday.

"Seventeen?" said Indians first baseman Victor Martinez. "No, not that many. It was only one guy for five innings."

Told that Twins relievers Pat Neshek, Dennys Reyes, Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan combined for seven more strikeouts over four scoreless innings, Martinez was speechless.

"That many?" said catcher Kelly Shoppach after Cleveland failed to get at least 10 hits for the first time in six games. "Liriano was really tough, but give them all credit because this team can hit."


The 17 strikeouts set a Cleveland team record for a nine-inning game, one more than the Indians had June 4, 2004, at St. Louis. The total tied the Twins' record for pitchers set May 6, 1966, at Boston.

Liriano (12-2) gave up one run and four hits while walking three. It was his third double-digit strikeout game this season as Minnesota rebounded from its first loss in nine games.

The Twins improved to 9-3 after the All-Star break and 31-8 since June 8.

Liriano lowered his ERA to 1.93 and avenged a July 13 home loss to the Indians. The hard-throwing lefty gave up four earned runs -- and three homers -- over five innings that day in 6-4 loss. Cleveland has the only five earned runs Liriano has allowed in his last five starts, during which he has a 1.37 ERA.

Liriano has been one of the few consistent bright spots on the road for the Twins this season. Minnesota is just 19-30 away from home, where Liriano is 7-1 with a 2.22 ERA.

The Twins bullpen allowed only two hits. Nathan fanned two in the ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances.

The Twins took a 3-0 lead in the third against Jake Westbrook (7-6).

Jason Tyner blooped a bunt over the Westbrook's head to start the odd rally. One out later, he was erased on a fielder's choice before Nick Punto beat out a two-out bunt for another single.


Both runners advanced on a passed ball by Shoppach on the first pitch to Joe Mauer -- who was then intentionally walked to load the bases. Michael Cuddyer followed with a slow grounder up the middle that shortstop Jhonny Peralta fielded behind the second-base bag, but bobbled before throwing to first.

Cuddyer got credit for an RBI single, then Justin Morneau grounded a two-run single just to the right of Peralta to make it 3-0.

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