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At last! Perth's Hendriks finally earns first MLB win
Right-hander breaks through in 17th big league start
09/21/2012 10:07 AM ET
Liam Hendriks and Minnesota knocked off Cleveland 6-4 for Hendriks's first MLB victory.
Liam Hendriks and Minnesota knocked off Cleveland 6-4 for Hendriks's first MLB victory. (MLB.com)
SYDNEY, 20 September - 23-year old Liam Hendriks will surely sleep easier tonight having at long-last earned his first Major League win in his 17th attempt. For a starting pitcher to be credited with a win he must pitch at least five innings, have the lead when he leaves the game, and, for his team to maintain that lead to the end of the game. Hendriks has had a mix of great and not-so-great starts this year but it has finally all come together in the dwindling days of the season.

Hendriks pitched six innings in the Twins 6-4 win at Cleveland. He allowed two earned runs on two hits, including a solo homerun in the first; he walked two and struck out two. The win gives the Twins' a 62-87 (.416) record on the season and moved them to 4th place in the American League Central Division.

Last year Hendriks became the 31st Australian to play Major League Baseball. He made the journey quickly having last attended the Major League Baseball Australian Academy Program in 2006. In the Australian Baseball League he plays for his hometown team, the dual defending champion Perth Heat. He played for Team Australia in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and, if permitted, will again don the Green and Gold as the 2013 edition gets underway in March.

Hendriks began his professional career with the Twins' Rookie League club in 2007 and has progressed steadily through their ranks putting up an overall minor league record of 38-20 with a 2.65 ERA over 84 games in five seasons (he missed 2008 due to injury). He was selected for the All-Star Futures World Team in 2010 but missed out due to an emergency appendectomy; he was again selected in 2011 and took the mound for two innings.

He is the one of four Australians playing the MLB level presently; the others are Grant Balfour (Sydney) and Travis Blackley (Melbourne) both with the Oakland Athletics and Peter Moylan (Melbourne) playing with the Atlanta Braves. Both the Athletics and Braves look to progress to the post-season in early October. There are nearly 80 Australians playing under contract to Major League Baseball clubs, the Asian and European professional leagues, or in the independent leagues of North America with dozens more playing college ball.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.