MINNEAPOLIS -- Francisco Liriano's 15-strikeout performance on Friday conjured memories of his dominant 2006 season for manager Ron Gardenhire.
The lefty's 15 punchouts tied him with Chris Sale and Max Scherzer for the Major League season-high.
"His stuff was [like in '06]," Gardenhire said. "Disappearing. We saw hitters swinging and actually looking up like, 'What was that?' Back in '06 when he was on his run, we were on the third-base side, and you'd see hitters take a swing and look back in our dugout and go 'Wow.' That's the type of stuff he had last night."
Unfortunately for Liriano and the Twins, he also became the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out at least 15 while also allowing a grand slam. Minnesota lost 6-3, leaving Liriano the first Twin ever to strike out 15-plus and lose.
Still, Liriano showed mettle in continuing to dominate after allowing the grand slam to Jonny Gomes. He retired 14 of the 15 batters he faced after Gomes' fourth-inning homer, racking up six more strikeouts.
"After that, I said to myself, 'What's done is done,'" Liriano said. "Nothing I can do about it. So go out there and make some good pitches and give a chance to my team to win the ballgame."
That resolve was absent in his first six starts this season, when he went 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA and was sent to the bullpen. He owns a 2.82 ERA in nine starts since rejoining the rotation on May 30.
"He's gone through an awful lot," Gardenhire said. "I think Frankie was trying to get ahead and Gomes put a good swing on it. It bothered him obviously to give up a grand slam, but it didn't affect him the rest of the night."