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Liriano Strikes Out 5, Twins Beat Orioles 3-2

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Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins

(credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Brian Matusz and Francisco Liriano apparently don’t need much more work on their strikeout pitches.

Matusz fanned eight in 4 2-3 innings for Baltimore, and Liriano struck out seven in five innings to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Orioles 3-2 Friday night.

Matt Tolbert had three hits and accounted for the only run off Matusz with his first spring homer, a shot to left-center with one out in the third. Steve Holm and Jason Repko doubled off Matusz, who projects as the Orioles’ No. 2 starter this season.

The left-hander has 13 strikeouts in 12 1-3 innings this spring. He scattered six hits and didn’t walk a batter.

“I just had a good rhythm today,” Matusz said. “I had a good rhythm and a good delivery. And that’s the ultimate goal, to get in that rhythm so you’re ready for the season. Today was the first time out there I really had that this spring and it felt good.”

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter removed Matusz after 80 pitches, including 54 strikes.

“He pitched pretty effective,” Showalter said. “I’d like to have seen him get through the fifth inning. He wasn’t very pitch efficient, but his stuff was good. … Eighty pitches in four and something, he’s going to have to get better at that.”

Liriano allowed one run and three hits, walking one.

“Tonight, I felt like I was staying back and hitting my spots. Everything was working,” the left-hander said.

Liriano was making his third start of the spring, and his second against the Orioles. He made his debut against them March 9 and was charged with five earned runs (six total) and five hits, with three walks, in 1 2-3 innings. He blanked the Philadelphia Phillies on four hits over three innings on March 13.

Liriano pitched in a “B” game before his first start against the Orioles.

“He threw the ball great,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He overanalyzes and wants to be perfect, but the ball was really coming out of his hand.”

Twins designated hitter Jeff Bailey looped a two-out, two-run single into right field off Jason Berken in the seventh for a 3-1 lead.

Trevor Plouffe and Tolbert singled to spark the rally, and Tolbert raced to second on left fielder Luke Scott’s throw to third base. Scott’s poor decision put two runners in scoring position for Bailey.

Scott hit an RBI double in the seventh off Twins closer Joe Nathan after Mark Reynolds reached on an error. Scott was 2 for 32 with one RBI before the at-bat.

NOTES: Orioles 1B Derrek Lee is scheduled to make his spring debut Saturday against the Phillies in Sarasota. Lee took batting practice before Friday night’s game and didn’t report any soreness in his right wrist. He had been restricted to soft toss and hitting off a tee while waiting for the inflammation in his wrist to clear out. … Orioles 2B Brian Roberts also took batting practice Friday. Roberts hasn’t played since March 7 because of back spasms. … Baltimore C Craig Tatum was cleared to resume full baseball activities after being shut down with a sore right oblique.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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