MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano almost threw another no-hitter. Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison was left with another health issue: a bruised left triceps.Harrison, who has been dealing with a blister on his left index finger and a kidney stone, was hit by a line drive in the seventh inning of the Rangers' 6-1 loss to the Twins on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
"It's always something," Harrison said after the game, a big ice pack wrapped around the muscle. "I ran over a black cat the other day. That's probably part of it."Liriano had a no-hitter through seven innings before the Rangers broke through in the eighth with their only two hits of the day. Adrian Beltre spoiled the no-hitter with a single up the middle to lead off the inning. "Somebody had to do it," Beltre said after the Rangers lost for the third time in four games to the Twins at Target Field. "Liriano threw well," Michael Young said. "If the guy goes out and does a great job, you have to acknowledge that. At the same time, we didn't do a good job of making adjustments." Liriano was terrific, but Harrison wasn't bad. He just ran into the same bad luck that has been dogging him for the past two weeks. He missed a start because of the blister and has spent the past 10 days trying to pass a kidney stone. Now this.
The Rangers were trailing by a run and Harrison had allowed just four hits through six innings when Danny Valencia smashed a live drive back up the middle to lead off the seventh."I saw it off the bat and knew it was coming at me, but I didn't have time to react," Harrison said. "The guy knocked the daylights out of the ball. I'm just glad it didn't hit me in the elbow." Harrison picked up the ball and had plenty of time to throw out Valencia, he just couldn't get anything on his throw. "My arm felt like jello," he said. "I should have thrown the ball right-handed." Harrison's next start is supposed to be on Saturday, against the Braves. He expects to make that start, although he has almost a week of treatment in the training room ahead of him. X-rays taken after he left the game showed no fractured bones. "It's just a big bruise," he said. "I can bend it. I should be ready for my next start. I just need to ice it, get the swelling down and loosen it up again." Mark Lowe replaced Harrison and was given extra time to warm up, and that was the beginning of a long inning. The Twins ended up scoring five unearned runs with the help of an error by shortstop Elvis Andrus and a strikeout/wild pitch from Lowe.
That long inning may have taken the edge off Liriano."It didn't bother me physically, but I started thinking too much about that no-hitter," Liriano said. When Liriano finally took the mound in the eighth, he had lost some of his sharpness. He threw three straight balls to Beltre, got one pitch over for a strike and then gave up a line-drive single. "He was just trying to spot the corner," Beltre said. "The guy was throwing a no-hitter; he's not going to keep it in the middle of the plate. He was trying to hit the corners, but the ball ran away. On 3-1 he was just trying to throw a strike, and he left it over the middle of the plate." Liriano struck out Nelson Cruz, but Beltre moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Yorvit Torrealba's single to center. But that was all the scoring for the Rangers, who have lost two straight to the Twins after snapping their seven-game Target Field losing streak on Friday. "They outplayed us the last two days," manager Ron Washington said. "We're not going to let that stop us. We'll pick up the pieces and move on." Liriano was pitching a perfect game heading into the seventh, retiring the first 19 batters before Andrus reached on an error by third baseman Luke Hughes.
Liriano, who threw a no-hitter against the White Sox on May 3, did not walk a batter and struck out nine."I have been facing him since A ball, when he was throwing 98 and had devastating stuff," David Murphy said. "He doesn't have the velocity that he used to, but he is a lot more of a pitcher. I never had a left-hander locate his sinker like he did today down and in." The Rangers have been no-hit three times, the last time by Mark Buehrle of the White Sox on April 18, 2007. Jim Colborn, who now works for the Rangers as a Pacific Rim scout, threw a no-hitter against them on May 14, 1977, while with the Royals. Mike Witt of the Angels threw a perfect game against them on the last day of the 1984 season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.