Found July 19, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS As Francisco Liriano's name continues to be listed among Minnesota's top trade chips leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, the Twins left-hander hasn't let it affect him. In fact, he's continued to boost his trade value.One start after striking out 15 Oakland batters, Liriano twirled another gem Wednesday against Baltimore. The Twins lefty fanned 10 Orioles in six innings, allowing just two runs on four hits.For the second time in a row, however, Liriano's solid performance wasn't enough for a win as his offense gave him very little run support. The Twins fell 2-1 on Wednesday against Tommy Hunter and the Orioles, dropping Liriano to 3-9 on the season.Liriano's only mistake of the night came in the first inning when he hung a pitch to Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. On an 0-1 offering from Liriano, Jones went deep to left field, crushing his 22nd homer of the season into the last few rows of the second deck in left for a two-run homer.That first-inning blast proved to be the difference."What can I say. Every time I go out there, I just want to give my team a chance to win a ballgame," Liriano said after the loss. "(Jones) got a pretty good swing on that pitch I threw out there. It wasn't a bad pitch at all. He got a good swing on it." But just like his last outing when he allowed a grand slam to Oakland's Jonny Gomes in the top of the fourth inning, he settled down after the home run. After Gomes took Liriano deep, he pitched four scoreless innings but was on the losing side as the Twins fell 6-3 to Oakland. On Wednesday, Liriano shut the Orioles down for five innings after Jones' blast, walking three batters and giving up just four total hits."I'm not exactly sure he had his great stuff, but he's got such nasty stuff that he doesn't really need to throw strikes a lot," said bench coach Scott Ullger, who served as the acting manager Wednesday after Ron Gardenhire left the game with a stomach virus in the fifth inning. "Guys will swing at it. The slider is late breaking and he's got a great changeup and he throws 95 mph. He had all three working."With the Twins now 38-53, there could be several players on the move before the trade deadline at the end of the month. As Liriano continues to impress, his name is near the top of that list. Several scouts have been in attendance at Target Field during Liriano's last two starts, but Liriano insists he isn't paying much attention to his name in the trade rumors."I try no to listen to it," Liriano said. "I'm just happy to be here. Whatever happens, happens. I don't know anything about what's going to happen. I'm not paying attention to it. "I haven't even called my agent to ask about it. I don't want to think about it too much."In Liriano's last two starts, he's struck out 25 batters and allowed five earned runs in 14 innings yet he picked up losses in each game. Since he returned to the Twins' rotation in late May after his demotion to the bullpen, Liriano has 77 strikeouts and just 28 walks in 63 13 innings. He's posted a 2.84 ERA during that stretch after his 9.45 ERA in his first six starts before his demotion."He's been excellent since he's been back in the starting rotation," said Twins right fielder Ben Revere. "It seems like every time he throws we wait for our offense to get cooking. He just battles and battling. Hopefully the rest of the year we give him some run support."But will Liriano get another start in a Minnesota uniform? For a Twins team looking to sell before the deadline, Liriano may be their most valuable commodity. The time to sell may be now.Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.

Liriano enhances his trade value

Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano took the loss in a 2-1 setback to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday at Target Field, but he showed a large handful of major league scouts what they had come to see. Liriano fanned 10 in six innings in his eighth quality start since returning to the rotation May 30. With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching, the timing...

Joe Mauer lays out for awesome catch

At a record of 38-52 on the season, the Minnesota Twins look far from their form of two years ago, when they were fighting for the best record in the majors through the very last few weeks. Bats have gone silent in the offense repellant Target Field, the starting rotation has struggled, and then there’s always the fact that the Twins share a division with the streak-ready Tigers...

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Twins' Mauer is in rare form at the plate

MINNEAPOLIS Joe Mauer is no stranger to batting titles. The Minnesota Twins catcher won three of them in the first eight years of his career, earning titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009.After going 3-for-4 in Tuesday's 6-4 Twins win over Baltimore, Mauer is now batting .333 and setting himself up for another possible race for the best batting average in the American League. He is...

Gardenhire leaves Twins game with stomach virus

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has a stomach virus that sent him home during Minnesota's game against Baltimore. The Twins announced in the eighth inning Wednesday night that Gardenhire had left the ballpark because of the illness. Bench coach Scott Ullger took over, and the Orioles won 2-1. This isn't the first time Gardenhire has been sick. He's left the dugout several...

Twins' De Vries in roller-coaster rookie season

MINNEAPOLIS Cole De Vries' major league career is just seven starts old, and so far it's hard to get a read on what the right-hander can offer to the Minnesota Twins' rotation. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native and former Golden Gopher has had several impressive starts since making his MLB debut on May 24, but he's also had several forgettable outings. Luckily for...

Ron Gardenhire: Jim Thome has to ‘thrill me’ to get his 607th home run ball back

A piece of memorabilia that once was lost has now been found. Last month, Jim Thome hit his 607th career home run against the Twins at Target Field when he was still with the Phillies. The ball appeared to land in one of the flower pots above the wall in right-center field and was not recovered until the following day. Now, it is in Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s possession. Thome...

Orioles 2, Twins 1

Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the first inning against Francisco Liriano and the Baltimore Orioles hung on to beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Wednesday night. Josh Willingham's home run in the fourth was all Minnesota could manage against Tommy Hunter (4-4), who returned to Baltimore's stumbling rotation with a solid performance that lasted one out into the eighth inning...

Joe Mauer makes amazing diving catch vs. Orioles (Video)

Although the Minnesota Twins aren't having the greatest of seasons, star catcher Joe Mauer turned in a pretty amazing catch from last night's game against the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore's Ryan Flannery was attempting to bunt in the sixth inning but popped the ball up into the air. Watch as Joe makes the play in the diving fashion: Your browser does not support iframes.

Mauer, bullpen lift Twins over Orioles

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Joe Mauer had three hits and an RBI and the Minnesota Twins bullpen pitched 4 2-3 innings of scoreless relief in a 6-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. Mauer had two singles, a double and a walk to improve his batting average to .333, second in the AL behind the Angels' Mike Trout. Ryan Doumit added two hits and two RBIs for the Twins...

Twins 6, Orioles 4

With each hard-hit single the opposite way, with every double to the gap, with every highlight-reel defensive play behind the plate, Joe Mauer pushes the nightmare of last season further and further behind him. The Minnesota Twins All-Star is getting cheered again by his home fans. He's in the race for the American League batting title again. And, most tellingly, he's making...
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