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Galarraga can't solve Twins

Galarraga can't solve Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tigers starter Armando Galarraga says there's nothing to it, as if his struggles against one team are a result of randomization. Maybe so, but the numbers make for a startling contrast.

After Friday's 10-2 Tigers loss against the Twins, the rookie is 0-4 with a 5.23 ERA against Minnesota and 12-1 with a 2.91 ERA against the rest of the league.

Justin Morneau made sure the rookie right-hander's struggles against the Twins continued, hitting a grand slam over the right-field baggie in the fifth inning. The home run put Detroit in a 6-1 hole it wouldn't dig out of.

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Galarraga (12-5, 3.39) went six innings and allowed six earned runs. He was wild, walking a career-high six batters. Galarraga allowed three hits, two of which were homers, including a Delmon Young solo shot in the fourth inning.

The Tigers walked a total of eight batters, a number that irked their skipper.

"We walked way too many people," manager Jim Leyland said. "You can't do that against anybody, let alone the Twins. I don't care who you are playing, you walk eight or nine guys in a Major League game, you are going to lose."

"We made [Galarraga] throw a lot of pitches," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a pretty good pitcher. We've beat him four or five times this year. That's pretty incredible because he's a really good pitcher and got great stuff. But we made him throw pitches and we worked the counts and got people on bases and scored runs here and there."

The walks combined with a pair of mistakes contributed to the lopsided final.

"[Galarraga] made a couple of huge, bad pitches, to Young and Morneau," Leyland said. "He left both offspeed pitches up in the zone."

Galarraga was opposed by left-hander Francisco Liriano, who continued a stellar comeback after being recalled from the Minors on Aug. 1. Liriano went seven innings, while allowing two earned runs on five hits. The left-hander struck out nine while walking only one.

Liriano is now 5-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 38 strikeouts in six starts since being called up.

"Liriano was very, very good," Leyland said.

Morneau believes the left-hander is stepping into the forefront of Minnesota's starting rotation.

"The thing that's made him tough now is he's added that changeup," Morneau said. "I don't want to go this far, but he's almost like [Johan] Santana in that he can throw that changeup when he wants to and it keeps them off his slider. And when he needs that slider with two strikes, he goes to it. When he's out there, he's the ace I think, and it's looking like he wants to pitch in those games where we need the wins."

Only one Tiger could solve Liriano. Marcus Thames had his seventh career multi-home run game, hitting a pair of solo shots -- one in the fifth and one in the eighth.

"Liriano had some good stuff tonight, he kept us off balance," Thames said. "He's a good pitcher. ... Yeah, I hit two home runs, but we didn't win the game. He had good stuff."

Thames has now hit four home runs against the Twins this year.

"He had a great game, almost made a tremendous catch in foul territory, two home runs," Leyland said. "We just didn't get guys on. We didn't really muster an offense at all. Our whole offense was Marcus' home runs, basically."

To Leyland, the game boiled down to a few very simple factors.

"I'm certainly not going to take anything away from them, but I mean, they got six hits, we got five," Leyland said. "We walked eight guys. You can't do that. We struck out 12 times or something. You just can't do that."

Thor Nystrom 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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