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Liriano, Mauer help Twins snap losing skid vs. Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Rookie Francisco Liriano's no-hitter got
wiped out just before he did.

Liriano allowed his only hit in six innings on a disputed call
at first base and the Minnesota Twins avoided a sweep with a 7-1
victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Joe Mauer had three hits, including a two-run double, and Torii
Hunter also drove in two runs for the Twins, who avoided being
swept in Anaheim for the first time since July 2003.

Liriano (4-0) struck out four and walked four in his longest
outing of the season. The only batter to hit a ball out of the
infield against the left-hander was his last. Vladimir Guerrero,
who went 0-for-4, flied out to the warning track in left-center
with runners at second and third to end the sixth.

"He pitched his butt off, was throwing 95, 96 mph and had those
guys off-balance," Hunter said. "Whenever you have Vladimir
Guerrero and Garret Anderson off-balance, you're doing pretty
good."

Liriano lost his no-hit bid in the sixth when third baseman Tony
Batista charged Orlando Cabrera's chopper and threw to a fully
stretched Justin Morneau. First base umpire Ed Hickox called
Cabrera safe, but replays showed the throw beat the runner.

"He missed that call, but I didn't get upset," Liriano said.
"I felt good. I was hitting my spots."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out to calmly discuss the play
with Hickox before retreating.

"I get in too much trouble and it costs me too much money to
say anything," Gardenhire said. "We thought we got him and
obviously Eddie thought he was out and that's what we talked about
at first base. I'm trying to be civilized. I've been thrown out
four times already."

Even without the questionable call, Liriano, who threw 104
pitches, wasn't going to continue past six innings.

"We didn't want to go to 100, but it was such an exciting
inning, so we left him out there," Gardenhire said. "We don't
want to push this young man. He's just now getting his legs
underneath him and building his arm strength."

The Angels had previously seen Liriano in relief on April 19.

"He's one of the bright young stars in our league, and now that
he's in their rotation, a lot of people are going to get to see how
good he is," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Ervin Santana (4-3) gave up four runs and nine hits in seven
innings, struck out three and walked none.

"Ervin didn't make a lot of mistakes, but he wasn't able to
bring his other pitches into the first inning to try to minimize
some damage and they hit some fastballs," Scioscia said. "It all
happened so quickly, but then he settled down and pitched well. But
the damage was already done. We were swimming upstream and a good
pitcher like Liriano, with the stuff he had, made it tough."

The Twins led 3-0 in the first on Maurer's two-run double and
Hunter's sacrifice fly. Hunter's RBI single in the third made it
4-0.

The Angels, who finished with three hits, scored an unearned run
in the seventh against Matt Guerrier. Juan Rivera doubled to
left-center and scored on a throwing error to third by shortstop
Nick Punto, who knocked down pinch-hitter Dallas McPherson's single
up the middle and tried to get Rivera taking a wide turn.

The Twins extended the lead to 7-1 in the ninth against Hector
Carrasco with a two-run double by Batista and an RBI single by
Punto.

Game notes
Santana lost for the first time in a night home game in his
career. ... All nine Twins starters had at least one hit. ...
Minnesota's Lew Ford started in right field in place of Michael
Cuddyer, who was scratched a day after fouling a pitch off his left
foot. ... The Angels were seeking their first three-game sweep of
the season. They are 5-10 in the third game of a series.