Late homers can't salvage Liriano's brilliant start
By Joey Johnston
Special to MLB.com |
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- First baseman ByungHo Park hit a towering two-run homer, abruptly ending the scoreless spring of left-hander Francisco Liriano and leading the Twins to an 8-2 victory against the Blue Jays on Monday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Park's fourth homer of the spring, which comfortably soared over the left-center-field wall, came on Liriano's 0-1 offering after Max Kepler led off the fifth inning with a single.
"He's had a good camp," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You watch Park, and he looks comfortable. He's swinging at strikes and has put a lot of good swings on the baseball."
Liriano, acquired last season from the Pirates to boost the Blue Jays' postseason push, was generally dazzling in 4 2/3 innings of work. He had 10 strikeouts and one walk, and he allowed four hits. Before Park's blast, Liriano had worked five scoreless innings in Grapefruit League play this spring.
"I thought Liriano was outstanding, pretty dominating," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That was good to see. That was the only good thing to see [today]."
Meanwhile, the Twins got five shutout innings from right-hander Tyler Duffey, who is bidding for a spot in Minnesota's starting rotation. Duffey allowed just four hits and set down the final seven batters he faced.
Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki led off the first with a double against Duffey, and he advanced to third on a grounder. But Duffey struck out designated hitter Josh Donaldson, who was making his first appearance of the spring, and he coaxed first baseman Kendrys Morales into an inning-ending bounceout. In the fifth, Blue Jays third baseman Ryan Goins connected on a deep drive to left-center, but Twins center fielder Byron Buxton left his feet and went horizontal for a brilliant diving catch on the warning track.
The Twins tacked on another run in the sixth when third baseman Miguel Sano greeted Blue Jays left-handed reliever J.P. Howell with a first-pitch homer to left. In the seventh, Ben Paulsen collected an RBI single, then scored on Quintin Berry's double. On the play, right fielder Ezequiel Carrera collided with second baseman Darwin Barney, who remained in the game. Carrera was helped by trainers to the clubhouse. Gibbons said Carrera is day to day, but he "didn't think it was a big deal." Barney's knee struck Carrera's thigh during the collision.
Minnesota added three wild runs in the eighth. Ehire Adrianza singled, reached second on J.B. Shuck's walk, got to third on Aaron Loup's wild pitch and scored on Tanner English's single. Shuck came around after a force attempt by John Ryan Murphy and a fielding error charged to Jake Elmore. English crossed home on a wild pitch from replacement pitcher Ryan Tepera.
Justin Smoak and Ryan McBroom provided Toronto's only offense, launching back-to-back solo homers in the eighth inning.
Blue Jays Up Next:Aaron Sanchez (0-0, 11.25 ERA) will make his third spring start on Tuesday against the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. ET at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. The right-hander has struck out four and walked two, while allowing two home runs in four innings of work. Listen exclusively on bluejays.com.