Jun 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm
MINNEAPOLIS (KNSI) - Starter Ryan Dempster held the Minnesota Twins offense in check Sunday through eight innings as the Chicago Cubs salvaged one game on the weekend, an 8-1 victory at Target Field.
After Minnesota pounded out 16 hits in each of the first two games of the series, Dempster held the offense to just four hits over the first eight innings of the game. Dempster pitched with more than one runner on base only once in the game, en route to a six strikeout performance and his second win of the season. The dominant Cub's righty dropped his season ERA to an outstanding 2.31.
Twins starter Francisco Liriano allowed a run on a bloop single and a two out double off the glove of Josh Willingham in left in the top of the first. After that, Liriano settled in and allowed just a single base-runner over the next four innings.
In the sixth Liriano ran into trouble. He walked the lead-off man and then a pair of line-hugging doubles and a wild pitch brought home three Cubs runs. Liriano left the game with two outs in the sixth and on the day allowed four runs on four hits with three walks and six strike outs. Since returning from the bull-pen on May 30, Liriano has allowed six runs in just over 17 innings of work.
The Twins picked up singles from Ben Revere, Jamey Carroll, Drew Butera and Trevor Plouffe in four separate innings. A Denard Span two out walk in the fifth followed the Butera hit, but Ben Revere grounded out to end the only multiple runner threat off Dempster.
An error, infield single and bloop single finally gave the Twins a credible threat in the ninth inning, already trailing 8-0. A Ryan Doumit pinch hit sac fly drove home Josh Willingham from third with the bases loaded. Caroll then dropped a double just fair down the right field line to score a second run with two outs. But after a long at-bat, Span flew out to deep center to end the game.
Sunday's loss is just the third in the last 12 games for the Twins who sit at 24-35 on the year as they currently share the AL Central cellar with the Royals and are 8.5 games behind the division leading White Sox.
Following an off-day Monday the Twins continue inter-league play against the Phillies on Tuesday at Target Field with first pitch set for 7:10. Nick Blackburn(2-4, 7.75) will make the start for Minnesota while Kyle Kendrick(2-5, 4.44) is scheduled to start for Philadelphia.
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