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Red Wings oust Red Barons09/10/2006 1:31 AM ET
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
MOOSIC, Pa. -- It was difficult to tell just who was the Major Leaguer on the mound for Rochester on Saturday night.
Francisco Liriano generated the pre-game buzz because he was making a rehab start before rejoining Minnesota on Sunday. But Glen Perkins, the Twins top pick in the 2004 draft, was no less effective, generating some buzz of his own.
The two southpaws combined to one-hit Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as Rochester eked out a 2-0 victory to advance to the Governor's Cup Finals.
It's the first time Rochester will play for the International League championship since winning it in 1997. The Red Wings will host the defending champion Toledo Mud Hens in Tuesday's opener.
The loss ended the Red Barons' season as well as their 18-year affiliation with Philadelphia. The Phillies will move their Triple-A affiliate to Ottawa next season.
"How fitting was it that Francisco Liriano set the tone?" Rochester manager Stan Cliburn asked. "Setting the tone has been our motto all year, and Mr. Liriano set the tone. He threw up the zeros and you saw the power of competition.
"Glen Perkins, being a young guy, the sky's the limit on his ability. Not that he didn't know how to prepare, but he saw how he [Liriano] went out there and prepared himself. He saw first-hand from the best and elevated his own game. "He said 'it's my time to shine.'"
Alex Romero's RBI double in the seventh was the game-winner, though Tommy Watkins added a run-scoring single in the eighth.
Liriano threw three no-hit innings, but after reaching his 40-pitch limit, was gone long before the game was decided. He fanned four, walked one and hit a batter before turning the game over to Perkins.
"Everything felt good," said Liriano, who will make his next start Wednesday against Oakland. "I didn't feel pain or sore. I threw all my pitches and I felt comfortable. I'm 100 percent and I don't feel like anything is wrong."
There was nothing wrong with Perkins, either. He kept the no-hitter going for another 2 2/3 innings before allowing a two-out single to Josh Kroeger in the sixth.
"Liriano set the tone and I just took it from there," said Perkins, who was making his second career Triple-A appearance and his first as a reliever. "I wanted to keep putting up zeros. It was on my shoulders to keep them down. I just wanted to follow him up and do a good job."
Jeremy Cummings, who no-hit the Red Wings on Sunday in Rochester, was almost as effective as the Liriano/Perkins combination. He scattered six hits and walked only one in seven innings, but lost his shutout bid in the seventh. Terry Tiffee led off with a double and Romero brought him home two batters later with a long double to center.
The Red Wings tacked on another run in the eighth off Jim Crowell. Jose Morales led off with a single, was bunted to second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Watkins' single.
The Red Barons threatened in the eighth as Perkins issued a pair of walks. But with two outs and the go-ahead run at the plate, Perkins fanned Kroeger and Swann. He finished with five strikeouts.
"You try to step up in those big situations," said Perkins, 23, who is seven months older than Liriano. "You want to get the double play or a fly ball or whatever. But when you're up by two runs you have some room to work with. I was more nervous in the ninth."
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost for just the fourth time in its last 26 home games heading into Saturday night. The Red Wings had also racked up 63 hits in their last five games against the Barons, which included the final two games of the regular season. But they were overmatched from the outset Saturday night.
"I thought with one run we had enough tonight," said Romero, who celebrated his 23rd birthday. "With Liriano with us, we were very confident. He's a big league guy and it was good to have him here. But you have to tip your hat to Perkins, too. He did a heck of a job."
So well, in fact, it was tough to tell who'd be heading back to Minnesota Sunday morning and who was going to Rochester.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.