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Liriano strikes again, improves to 14-5

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The Pittsburgh Pirates are likely headed to the National League playoffs, and Twins castoff Francisco Liriano is one huge reason why.

Last night, Liriano improved to 14-5 on the season, with a respectable 2.53 ERA. He also struck out 13 batters in the Bucs 3-1 win over the Padres.

Of course, when you monitor Liriano's success, you also encounter how the pitching-poor Twins -- and downtrodden Twins fans -- have to be shaking their heads.

Here's a brief sample of what's being said:

From NBCSports.com: "(Liriano) went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA for Minnesota and the White Sox last year. Though the Twins practically gave him away in a deadline deal, they weighed re-signing him last winter. Still, they weren’t going to offer him more than a one-year deal."

From CBSSports.com:"He's been an All-Star, thrown a no-hitter and learned at the feet of the great master, Johan Santana, during Santana's 2006 Cy Young season. But never has Francisco Liriano been this money over an entire season."

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "The only time Liriano struck out more than 13 batters in his career came last July, when as a member of the Minnesota Twins he struck out 15 Oakland Athletics in eight innings. Fittingly for the date -- Friday the 13th -- he lost that game."

And, Liriano himself, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:"I struggled so bad the last two years, it was kind of frustrating for me," Liriano said. "I never stopped working and just thank God for a second chance and having this year I'm having right now."

MEANWHILE: The Twins, with a team ERA of 4.31, have sent Kyle Gibson back to Triple-A Rochester and Samuel Deduno, who has emerged as Minnesota ace this season, might miss his next start (Friday) with a sore arm.

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