Royals beat Twins 10-5

Published 11:50 am Thursday, April 14, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Francisco Liriano changed up this time and threw more fastballs. Too bad for him, the result was a replay of his two other starts.

Slumping Mike Aviles doubled twice and drove in three runs as the Kansas City Royals became the latest team to tag Liriano, roughing up the Minnesota Twins 10-5 Wednesday.

Aviles ended his 0-for-18 rut and Alex Gordon added two hits and drove in two runs. The Royals scored six times in the fourth inning to break open the game.

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“It was a tough inning for me,” Liriano said. “I think I made some good pitches in that inning and they still got hits. So, you’ve just got to tip your hat to them.”

Liriano (0-3) gave up six straight hits during the Royals’ big inning. He began the game with a 7.71 ERA after Toronto and the New York Yankees knocked him around in his first two starts.

The left-hander went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA last year and ranked fifth in the AL with 201 strikeouts. He is still trying to re-establish his dominance after elbow surgery four years ago.

Liriano held the Royals hitless through the first three innings. The second time through the order, however, proved a tougher task. That’s been his pattern this year — in their first plate appearance against Liriano, hitters are batting just .083.

Manager Ron Gardenhire has been telling Liriano to relax, trust his movement and pitch to contact. In the first three innings, Liriano has a 2.00 ERA; from the fourth inning on, his ERA jumps to 18.56 and hitters are hitting .448 off him.

“I threw more fastballs than I’m used to today,” Liriano said. “I just wanted them to put the ball in play and not strike them out.”