When you strike out 15 hitters in a game…you expect to win the game. Yet, last night, Francisco Liriano of the Twins did that against the A's….and he lost. Yep, the enigmatic Twins starter struck out 15 over eight innings, walking just one…and lost. What happened? Well, he allowed just four hits and four runs (three earned). But all of the damage came in the fourth for Liriano. He allowed Jemile Weeks to reach on an infield single, and then struck out Josh Reddick. Yoenis Cespedes reached on a Denard Span error, and Liriano then walked Chris Carter to load the bases for Jonny Gomes…who hit a grand slam. Boom, that's it. Liriano would allow just two hitters to reach base over the rest of the game, but it just wasn't enough after the grand slam, and the Twins failure to score more than three runs. Oh, bother.
Game of the Night: White Sox 9, Royals 8 (14 innings). This was a wacky game. The Sox led 3-0 after the first, and the Royals scored the next five runs to take a 5-3 lead. Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run homer in the fifth to make it 6-5 White Sox, but an Alcides Escobar two-run triple in the eighth put the Royals back on top 7-6. AJ Pierzynski singled in a run in the ninth off of Royals closer Jonathan Broxton to tie the game at seven, and a Gordon Beckham RBI double in the 12th made it 8-7 Chicago. Of course, closer Addison Reed couldn't get it done, and allowed an RBI groundout to Alex Gordon following a double by Jeff Francoeur and a Lorenzo Cain single. That brought up to the 14th, when Kevin Youkilis hit a sac fly to bring in Beckham (who had walked and moved up to third on a single by Alejandro de Aza) to put the White Sox in front 9-8, which would be the final after Dylan Axelrod set the Royals down in order in the bottom of the 14th to conclude the near five and a half hour marathon.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Well, aside from Liriano's great outing, there were a couple of good starts. In Detroit's 7-2 win in Baltimore, Doug Fister allowed one run on three hits over seven innings, striking out eight Orioles without walking one. In the Rangers 3-2 win in Seattle, Derek Holland threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits, two walks, and striking out four Mariners hitters. Madison Bumgarner shut the Astros down in a 5-1 Giants win, allowing just two hits and one run over seven innings, striking out five and walking two.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Alfonso Soriano led the Cubs to an 8-1 win over the Diamondbacks, going 4/4 with three runs, five RBI, two doubles, and two homers. Ryan Braun helped the Brewers to a 10-7 comeback win over the Pirates, going 4/4 with three runs, three RBI, a walk, and a pair of homers. Mark Teixeira led the Yankees to a late 6-5 win over the Angels, going 2/4 with five RBI and two homers. In that 6-3 Twins loss to the A's, Josh Willingham went 2/3 with three RBI, a walk, and two homers.
Other Games: The Reds edged the Cardinals 5-3. The Nationals controlled the Marlins en route to a 5-1 win. The Braves nearly blew a 5-0 win, but held on to beat the Mets 7-5. The Indians beat the Blue Jays 1-0. The Rockies beat the Phillies 6-2, continuing Philadelphia's slide. The Red Sox beat the Rays 3-1. The Dodgers edged the Padres 2-1.
Today's Games: Ryan Dempster starts for the Cubs as they host the Diamondbacks. RA Dickey and Tommy Hanson will duel in Atlanta. Max Scherzer takes on Wei-Yin Chen in Baltimore. Lance Lynn starts for the Cardinals in Cincinnati. Jake Peavy will start for the White Sox in Kansas City. Gio Gonzalez takes on Mark Buerhle in Miami. Clay Buchholz returns from the DL against David Price and the Rays. Yu Darvish takes on Felix Hernandez in Seattle.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.