Liriano off to good start with Blue Jays debut

Left-hander logs 6 solid innings in no-decision against Royals

Liriano off to good start with Blue Jays debut

KANSAS CITY -- Sometimes a change of scenery can make all the difference.

In his first start since being acquired from the Pirates at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, left-hander Francisco Liriano delivered six solid innings and gave up two earned runs in a no-decision for the Blue Jays in their 4-3 win over the Royals on Friday night.

"I was a little nervous. I felt like it was my debut in 2005," Liriano said. "I walked two guys today, but I think besides that I threw the ball pretty well."

Liriano's season hadn't exactly gotten off to a roaring start. His ERAs for May and July were well over 5.00; his ERA in June was a whopping 7.03.

As Liriano touched on, walks had been his Achilles heel throughout the year. He came into Friday's game averaging 5.5 walks per nine innings over his first 21 starts and led the Majors in total walks. However, with the aggressive nature of the Royals' bats, Liriano had a little bit of leeway to work with.

"I knew they were going to swing a lot," Liriano said.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons noticed a similar pattern, but attributed the outing more to Liriano's skill than anything else.

"They swing, but like I said ... he looked exactly like I've ever seen him," Gibbons said. "He's been a pretty good pitcher for a long time."

Liriano did have a couple hiccups. He gave up three runs (two earned), including a solo homer to Paulo Orlando in the fifth. However, for the most part, Liriano remained cool and collected in his first game with a new team.

And while he had several new teammates, Liriano did have experience pitching to catcher Russell Martin when they were teammates with the Pirates. For that, the two quickly got into a rhythm, which helped carry Liriano through the outing.

"His slider was sharp, changeup was good. He was throwing his fastball for strikes," Martin said. "I just thought he did a nice job ... to keep hitters off-balance. That was the story of the game.

"He's the same guy. The stuff is exactly the same. It's electric."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for based in Kansas City and covered the Blue Jays on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.