Thursday’s Game Report: Twins 5, Cardinals 3

Thursday’s Game Report: Twins 5, Cardinals 3

By Rob Rains

Matthew Liberatore knows that part of his growth as a major-league pitcher is going to come by learning from his mistakes.

He was reminded of that on Thursday night when two of his 93 pitches resulted in a pair of two-run homers in the second inning that sent the Twins to the win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

In the other 4 2/3 innings that Liberatore worked he allowed only three hits and was charged with one run after a runner he left on base came around to score.

Liberatore had allowed only two home runs in his previous 32 innings coming into the game.

Here is how Thursday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: Dylan Carlson drove in two of the Cardinals’ runs with a double in the second inning and a groundout in the ninth … Alec Burleson had three hits, including his eighth homer as he hit a home run for the second consecutive game … Jose Fermin had his first career two-hit game after being a last-minute replacement for Nolan Gorman … The top three hitters in the Cardinals’ lineup – Lars Nootbaar, Paul Goldschmidt and Jordan Walker – were a combined 0-of-12 with six strikeouts, three of them by Nootbaar.

On the mound: After Michael A. Taylor hit the second two-run homer off Liberatore, he retired 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced before giving up a leadoff single in the sixth. Another single and a two-out walk loaded the bases before Drew VerHagen relieved and walked the first hitter he faced to force in the Twins’ fifth run … VerHagen got the next out to strand the bases loaded, then retired the Twins in order in the seventh … Zack Thompson worked the eighth and James Naile pitched the ninth.

Key stat: Goldschmidt was 1-of-12 in the three-game series and failed in his attempt to hit a home run against the Twins, the only team he has never homered against in his career in 47 at-bats. He was trying to become the 14th active player with at least one home run against all 30 teams.

Worth noting: Gorman, who has been bothered by back tightness, was scratched just before game time … The lineup change moved Walker from cleanup to the third spot, making him the youngest Cardinal to start in that spot since Curt Flood in 1958 … At Memphis on Thursday night, top prospect Masyn Winn was 4-of-5, also reached on a walk, scored four runs and drove in three. One of his hits was his 17th home run of the season … Major League Baseball announced the team assignments for the Arizona Fall League this year and the Cardinals’ representatives will be on the Scottsdale Scorpions … Chen-Wei Lin, the first player the Cardinals signed from Taiwan, made his pro debut on Thursday, pitching two innings for the rookie Complex League team. He allowed one run and struck out three.

Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will try again for his 199th career win on Friday night as the Cardinals open a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Busch Stadium.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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