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Liriano can’t find groove vs. Crew

June 25, 2011

MILWAUKEE — After an early lead, things got ugly in a hurry for the Twins on Saturday night, as they fell, 11-1, to the Brewers.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano seemed to be in control in the third, until former Twins center fielder Carlos Gomez turned on a 1-2 slider and put it into the seats in left field for a go-ahead two-run home run.

Despite entering the game batting just .210 on the season, Gomez improved his batting average to .370 (10-for-27) against his former team. He was not shy about enjoying the home run either, flipping the bat to the dirt and trotting slowly to first before speeding up the rest of the way.

“I know I hit it good,” Gomez said. “In the last four, five starts, I didn’t hit a base hit. My only base hit in the month was the pinch-hit double [on June 16 against the Cubs] so I felt really good and excited about this. They know it’s nothing personal, especially when I have my best friend on the mound.”

Gomez had a similar incident last season when the Twins and Brewers met at Target Field, as he admired a three-run blast late in a 15-3 loss, flipping his bat and hitting Joe Mauer behind the plate with it.

Even so, the Twins weren’t bothered by it.

“I had Go-Go, he’s a great kid,” Gardenhire said. “He plays at one speed and it doesn’t get under my skin at all. He’s a really cool kid and he’s just playing really hard. And he hustles all the time and he has a passion for the game. So, no, it doesn’t bother me a bit.”

Liriano admitted after the game that the pitch location may not have been the best against a hitter like Gomez.

“I don’t think it was the right pitch to throw to Gomez,” Liriano said. “He’s pulling everything, so, I think throwing that slider down and in is doing a favor to him.”

The home run by Gomez, his fifth of the season, sparked a big inning for the Brewers, who plated three more runs in the inning on three singles, two errors and a walk. Liriano would leave the game in the fourth, having allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings of work.

Things only got worse for the Twins after Liriano left the game.

With two out in the fifth, Brewers shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt drove a 1-0 curveball from Anthony Swarzak to left, which was misjudged by Delmon Young, resulting in an inside-the-park home run. Young initially ran in on the ball before racing back to try and make the catch.

As Young stretched for the ball, he crashed into the left-field fence, with his right leg landing awkwardly at the bottom of the wall. Young was unable to get up, allowing Betancourt to score, and was helped onto a stretcher before being carted off the field with a right ankle sprain. X-rays taken at the ballpark on Young came back negative.

“I got my spike caught on the bottom of the scoreboard, the black ledge just sticks out,” Young said. “Instead of my foot missing it and just hitting the ground, it got caught in there, and the rest of my weight went into it.”

In the seventh and eight innings, the Brewers added four more runs for good measure, including a two-run home run by Prince Fielder off lefty reliever Phil Dumatrait and a solo shot by Corey Hart off Joe Nathan.

As the Twins struggled to keep the Brewers off the board, Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo kept the Twins offense off balance all night, allowing just one run on six hits over seven innings.

The Twins dropped their fourth straight game after winning eight in a row. They scored just one run for the third time in their last four, and they’ve averaged just 1 1/2 runs per game over that stretch.

“Not a good night for us,” Gardenhire said. “We had one bad inning early, we missed a couple of plays, and they banged it all over the place.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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