Opponent: Oakland Athletics
Starting Pitcher: Slowey
Final Score: W 4-2
Recap: Damn, another unexpected and amazing pitching performance. Who thought Slowey would come back from his elbow soreness to deliver 7 no-hit innings. And what a position he put Gardy in, throwing 106 pitches to get through those 7 innings. I agree with the decision, at least most of me does. I must admit a tiny emotional part of me wishes he had gotten the chance to keep going. But honestly, Slowey was really struggling that last inning, and it wasn't worth risking his arm for such a slim chance. He had 6 more outs to get, and that could be a lot of pitches. Not to mention the fact that the defense was making some great plays behind him. Both Kubel and Repko made nice running catches to prevent extra-base hits.
While Slowey was delivering his no-hit start (with just 3 walks and a hit batter), the offense was similarly held in check by Mazzaro. Obviously not to the no-hit degree, but the Twins really struggled to do anything against him. In the 3rd inning, the Twins strung together some hits with 2 outs, a single by Hudson, a single by Mauer, and then a ground-rule double from Kubel. That was all the offense we had until the 7th inning, when the A's pitcher did something very, very stupid. He thought it would be a good idea to throw a 3-0 fastball to Jim Thome. Exit ball stage right. I'm thinking the pitcher maybe should have been more careful with that pitch, especially with Valencia up next, hardly the same threat as Thome. With 2 men on, it gave the Twins a 4 to 0 lead going into the 8th inning, and it was Thome's 580th home run of his career.
Gardy pulled Slowey, and you had to know he was going to; Gardy is very careful with his pitchers. Anyone who actually thought Slowey was going to stay in the game needs a reality check. So with the 4-run lead, Jon Rauch had the unenviable task of relieving a pitcher throwing a no-hitter in the face of a restless crowd. Cue the boos. Then after getting a strikeout, he gave up the first hit, a double. The booing increased. And then he gave up another double and the first run. More boos. He was eventully pulled for Crain. Another run scored on a fielder's choice, but we still had a 2-run lead going into the 9th. Capps got another save, and a very interesting game was over. We're now up 3 games on the White Sox, heading into another series with them. We shall see how this goes, but right now we are cruising.
Best Moment: Slowey's 7 no-hit innings.
Most Questionable Moment: Taking Slowey out after the 7th inning. I'm not saying I disagree, I'm just saying it will be questioned by some people.
Worst Moment: Rauch coming in and giving up the first hit. And then the second hit and first run.
Quotations of the Day:
- "I'd boo me too. I took a pitcher out with a no-hitter going, but I would do it a thousand times the same way because Slowey's just come off an elbow injury and we're not even about to come close to risking this guy. It's the way it is and it's sad because like I said I'd be booing too." - Ron Gardenhire. Slow clap.
- "I think more than anything I was letting my defense work behind me. Between Repko's catch and Kubel's catch and that double play that Valencia turned, and some of the plays in the infield. We have some Gold Glove-caliber defenders and I need to remember that because as you said I'm not overpowering. On a day when I didn't have great control, to rely on those guys was very nice." - Kevin Slowey
- "I was just ready to hit the fastball and was fortunate to do it." - Jim Thome on his home run.
- "I was a little disappointed. I don't think it would be possible not to be a little bit disappointed, but I think more than anything I was encouraged. I was encouraged by the fact that Gardy and Andy care a lot more about me as a person and as a pitcher in the long run than they do about winning one game or having one accomplishment. I think that says a lot about them and a lot about our organization." - Kevin Slowey
Suck-Ass Performance of the Game: Jon Rauch (0.1 innings pitched, 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 earned runs)