Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 7/8)

Game 1: Friday, July 7
Minnesota4Final
Texas9
Game 2: Saturday, July 8
Minnesota4Final
Texas0
Game 3: Sunday, July 9
Minnesota2Final
Texas5

Twins 4

(47-38, 17-28 away)

Rangers 0

(44-43, 24-25 home)

8:05 PM ET, July 8, 2006

Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

123456789 R H E
MIN 000030001 4 14 0
TEX 000000000 0 6 0

W: F. Liriano (10-1)

L: J. Rheinecker (4-3)

Looks like a star: Spurned Liriano dazzles for Twins

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Francisco Liriano, passed over for the All-Star game, is pitching like he deserves to be there.

Elias Says
Francisco Liriano
Liriano
Francisco Liriano became only the second rookie to head into the All-Star break with at least 10 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA. The other was Jerry Koosman of the Mets; he headed into the 1968 All-Star break with a record of 11-4 and an ERA of 1.94.

• For more Elias Says, click here.

Liriano allowed four hits in seven innings to win his sixth straight start and the Minnesota Twins beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 Saturday night to stop a three-game losing streak.

"It's their loss, it's the nation's loss, it's the world's loss not to see that young man pitch," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, disappointed Liriano didn't make the AL team. "But mistakes are made. Let's hope they don't make any more with Liriano."

Liriano (10-1) struck out eight and walked three, lowering his ERA to 1.83. His seven innings made him eligible for the league leaders and he took over the top spot in the American League, surpassing teammate Johan Santana (2.76).

Santana starts against Texas on Sunday.

Liriano, who leads all major league rookies with 102 strikeouts, took the All-Star snub in stride. He'll use the break to visit his family in the Dominican Republic.

"I'm not disappointed," Liriano said. "Maybe I can make it next year. I wish I could have made it but I can't worry about it."

The Rangers got only two runners as far as third against Liriano -- Gerald Laird with two outs in the sixth and Mark DeRosa with two outs in the seventh. Liriano got Michael Young to ground out to end the sixth and retired Kevin Mench on a grounder in the seventh.

"There are a few guys who have great stuff in the major leagues and (Liriano) is one of them," Young said. "He's got a great fastball, slider and change so you can't sit on one pitch. But I don't care who is pitching, as an offense you've got to find a way to push a run across the plate."

Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan pitched the final two innings as the Twins combined for a shutout for the third time in Liriano's last six starts.

Texas, which scored 18 runs in the previous two games, managed only one extra-base hit off Liriano on DeRosa's leadoff double in the fifth. That's where DeRosa stayed as Liriano retired the next three batters, two on strikeouts.

Torii Hunter homered, Jason Bartlett had a two-run double and Nick Punto had three hits to help the Twins end their longest losing streak since a four-game skid June 3-7.

The Twins took control with a three-run fifth off Rangers rookie John Rheinecker (4-3).

Hunter gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with his 14th homer, a 424-foot drive into the Twins' bullpen in left-center on the first pitch.

"It was a curveball and I wanted to put a good pass on it," Hunter said. "I saw it hanging and wanted to do something with it."

Shannon Stewart and Lew Ford followed with singles and Bartlett drove them both in with a double into the left-field corner.

Rheinecker allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings.

"Torii hit a breaking ball and the location was a little off," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "It's tough. Liriano is on his game so you know runs are going to be at a premium."

Minnesota threatened in the fourth inning when Luis Castillo led off with a double and stole third. Castillo tried to score on Joe Mauer's one-out flyball to left, but Jerry Hairston Jr.'s throw to catcher Laird easily beat Castillo.

Hairston's throw atoned for his fielding blunder on Castillo's double. Hairston took a bad angle on the line drive and the ball dropped to his left as Castillo raced to second.

The Twins stretched their lead to 4-0 in the ninth on Stewart's RBI single off Scott Feldman.

Game notes


The Rangers were shut out for the fifth time this season. The Twins have four shutouts. ... DeRosa had two of the Rangers' six hits. ... Texas' Gary Matthews Jr. grounded into a double play in the third, his first of the season. Matthews had gone 317 at-bats without hitting into a double play, second-longest streak in the AL. ... Stewart snapped an 0-for-15 slide with his fifth-inning single. ... Mauer, who started the day with a league-best .388 average, went 0-for-4. ... Liriano's 1.83 ERA also is the lowest in the majors. ...Minnesota's Justin Morneau stretched his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games with a ninth-inning single.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES