Francisco Liriano to start Game 1

Updated: September 23, 2010, 12:44 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Francisco Liriano will get the start when Minnesota opens the American League playoffs next month.

"He's been winging it pretty good," manager Ron Gardenhire said before Wednesday's game against Cleveland.

Liriano is 14-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 29 starts, including 6-1 in his past 10. The left-hander will have six days' rest between his final regular season and first playoff starts.

Minnesota clinched its second straight AL Central title -- and sixth in nine years -- late Tuesday. Unlike last year, when Minnesota was involved in a tiebreaker playoff to win the division, the Twins can set up their rotation.

Carl Pavano is scheduled to pitch Game 2 followed by Brian Duensing. Nick Blackburn will be the fourth starter if the Twins use a four-man rotation.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press