Francisco Liriano was six outs from his second no-hitter of the season, when a long delay during the bottom of the seventh inning derailed his feat.
The Minnesota Twins didn’t mind. They’re just happy to have the dominant Liriano back.
Liriano sat in the dugout for nearly a half-hour before Adrian Beltre led off the eighth with a clean single, but the lefthander allowed only three baserunners yesterday in pitching the Twins past the Texas Rangers, 6-1, in Minneapolis.
“Everything was working for me,’’ Liriano said.
Liriano (4-6), who held the Chicago White Sox hitless in a wild effort May 3, was perfect through the sixth against the high-scoring Rangers. He needed 64 pitches to retire the first 18 batters.
“I felt better today. Way better,’’ Liriano said, comparing this to his no-hitter.
Elvis Andrus was the first Texas player to reach, on rookie third baseman Luke Hughes’s error with one out in the seventh on a play that could have been ruled a hit.
The Twins then scored five times in the bottom half after an injury to Rangers starter Matt Harrison, an inning that took 29 minutes. When Liriano returned to the mound, he fell behind, 3-and-0, before Beltre hit a hard single to left-center field.
Still, Liriano matched a season high by striking out nine in eight innings, allowing two hits without a walk.
Rays 9, Orioles 6 — Johnny Damon hit his 27th career leadoff home run and Evan Longoria had an inside-the-park homer and three RBIs as Tampa Bay cruised in Baltimore.
Longoria’s first career inside-the-park homer came in the eighth with a man on and put Tampa Bay ahead. His liner to center curled past a hard-charging Adam Jones, and the ball rolled to the wall as Longoria circled the bases.
Phillies 4, Cubs 3 — Ryan Howard went 3 for 3 and drove in three runs and Roy Oswalt recovered from a rocky first to pitch seven solid innings as Philadelphia rallied past visiting Chicago.
Howard’s two-run single in the seventh helped Philadelphia to its fifth win in seven games.
Mariners 7, Tigers 3 — Miguel Olivo hit two home runs and Felix Hernandez pitched eight strong innings to lead visiting Seattle over Detroit.
Royals 9, Angels 0 — Vin Mazzaro pitched seven stellar innings and Kansas City turned five double plays to beat Los Angeles in Anaheim, Calif.
White Sox 5, Athletics 4 — Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer to back seven strong innings by Phil Humber (four hits, seven strikeouts) and host Chicago defeated Oakland.
Braves 4, Astros 1 — Tommy Hanson struck out a career-high 14 in seven innings, Brian McCann and Dan Uggla hit two-run homers, and visiting Atlanta won its sixth straight by toppling Houston.
Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 1 — Daniel Hudson allowed one run in six-plus innings, Stephen Drew had three hits and two RBIs, and Arizona handed host Florida its 10th loss in 11 games.
Dodgers 10, Rockies 8 — James Loney hit his second career grand slam and hard-throwing rookie Rubby De La Rosa pitched five effective innings before exiting with a forearm cramp to help Los Angeles hold off Colorado in Denver.
Mets 7, Pirates 0 — Chris Capuano pitched seven innings, Jose Reyes homered, and New York shut out host Pittsburgh.
Brewers 4, Cardinals 3 — Prince Fielder hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth as host Milwaukee knocked St. Louis out of first place in the NL Central.
Nationals 2, Padres 0 — Danny Espinosa hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth inning for Washington in San Diego.
Giants 4, Reds 2 — Nate Schierholtz hit a sacrifice fly and Aubrey Huff followed with a run-scoring single in the seventh for host San Francisco.