Francisco Liriano struck out a career-high 15 hitters and Josh Willingham smacked his 20th and 21st home runs of the season, but the Twins still found a way to lose to the A's, 6-3 at Target Field Friday night.
Liriano cruised through the first three innings, with eight of the first nine outs coming on strikeouts. In the fourth inning he ran into some trouble. He allowed an infield single to start the inning, struck out the next batter before allowing a routine fly to center, but Denard Span dropped it.
Instead of have a runner on first with two outs, the A's had runners at first and second with one out. Liriano walked the next hitter to load the bases and Jonny Gomes smacked the first pitch he saw into the seats for a Grand Slam.
Liriano went on to retire 14 of the final 15 batters he faced. His final line was 8 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned runs, 1 walk and 15 strikeouts. It's the most strikeouts by a Twin since Johan Santana fanned 17 Rangers in 2007. Liriano lowered his season ERA to 4.93.
Carl Pavano continues to rehab his way back from a strained shoulder that has kept him out of the Twins' rotation since June 1st. Pavano talked to reporters on Friday and said, "It just takes time, as frustrating as it can be. Sometimes it takes more time than expected." The right-hander doesn't want to to rush his return and risk suffering a setback.