Liriano struggles; Twins can't solve Weaver

Liriano struggles; Twins can't solve Weaver

Liriano struggles; Twins can't solve Weaver
MINNEAPOLIS -- On a positive note, the Twins weren't on the wrong side of history, as they managed to avoid being no-hit by Angels ace Jered Weaver for a second straight time on Monday at Target Field.

But that was about the only bright spot for the Twins, who couldn't muster much offense against Weaver in an 8-3 loss that gave the club its 12th defeat in its last 14 games.

Weaver, who held the Twins hitless in his last start on Wednesday, ended up allowing just one run on three hits and two walks over six innings.

"He threw a lot of pitches against us last time to get the no-hitter, so he was leaving some more balls over the plate," second baseman Jamey Carroll said. "He didn't have as much movement, but he was still effective enough. It shows you what type of pitcher he is."

Weaver lost his bid to become just the second player to throw back-to-back no-hitters in the third inning, when Erik Komatsu singled after Trevor Plouffe drew a leadoff walk.

But Weaver was able to get out of that jam, and Minnesota was already down by three runs at that point, as left-hander Francisco Liriano struggled yet again.

"Regardless, it's always tough facing the same team two starts in a row," Weaver said. "You think you have to change things up, but you want to keep things the same for the most part. It was a battle today, but the defense played well behind me, and obviously, the offense scored some runs there off Liriano early."

The Angels scored in a hurry, as Maicer Izturis led off the game with a single and came around to score on an RBI groundout from Albert Pujols. They added two more runs on one swing of the bat from Alberto Callaspo in the third on his first homer of the season.

Liriano later loaded with the bases with one out in the fourth, but he managed to give up just one run, as Peter Bourjos provided a sacrifice fly before Izturis struck out to end the inning.

Liriano ended up allowing four runs on five hits over five innings in his second start since being skipped in the rotation in an effort for him to clear his head. But Liriano, who fell to 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA, said he still doesn't exactly know what he needs to fix.

"It's been kind of difficult for me to [figure] it out," Liriano said. "I think it's getting better for me. I was better in my last start. But tonight, I was rushing for a couple of innings and missing my spots. But overall, it's getting better."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Liriano will stick in the rotation, because the team doesn't have any other options.

"We just have to sit and talk about it and keep running him out there," Gardenhire said. "You can only change so many starters. We don't have enough people to change all our starters. Frankie has to get it done and figure it out."

Minnesota didn't get on the board until the fifth, when Denard Span's potential inning-ending double play with the bases loaded was broken up with a hard slide from Komatsu at second base.

The Angels added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single from Pujols off reliever Anthony Swarzak. It marked just the second time this season that Pujols had more than one RBI in a game.

The Twins scored twice in the eighth, but it wasn't enough. Joe Mauer snapped an 0-for-12 slump with an RBI single after Carroll doubled and Brian Dozier picked up his first big league hit. Ryan Doumit added a sacrifice fly to score Dozier, but Danny Valencia struck out against reliever Jordan Walden to end the frame.

The Angels tacked on three runs in the ninth, as the Twins botched two plays, including an errant pickoff throw from Glen Perkins and a dropped fly ball from Komatsu in left field.

"It seems like the same story every day -- battling back to get into the game, and the other team comes back and answers," Carroll said. "Obviously, it's frustrating and not the way you want it to be, but unfortunately, that was the case tonight."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.