MINNEAPOLIS - Ron Gardenhire heard the boos from Twins fans Sunday afternoon. And the Minnesota manager acknowledged he was kind of booing himself at the same time.
Even though Kevin Slowey had just thrown seven innings of no-hit baseball against Oakland, Gardenhire went to his bullpen to finish the game. The bid for a combined no-hitter didn’t last long, either, when Jon Rauch gave up a double to the second batter he faced in what would end being a 4-2 Twins victory.
“I would boo me too,” Gardenhire said. “I took a pitcher out with a no-hitter going. But I would do it 1,000 times the same way.”
The reason was simple: Elbow tendinitis caused Slowey to miss his last start. Combine that with 106 pitches to get through seven innings and there was little chance of him throwing two more.
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“We’re not going to come close to risking this guy,” Gardenhire said. “It’s the way it is. It’s sad. I’d be booing too because I want to see a no-hitter, but I also know I’m responsible for this guy’s arm.”
Slowey didn’t pitch like a guy who had just been skipped because of elbow problems. He allowed only five baserunners and struck out five.
“I was a little disappointed,” Slowey said. “I don’t think it would be possible not to be a little bit disappointed. But I think more than anything I think I was encouraged.
“I was encouraged by the way it was presented to me. I was encouraged by the fact that Gardy and (pitching coach Rick Anderson) care a whole lot about me as a person and as a pitcher in the long term than they do about winning one game or having one accomplishment. I think that says a lot about them, and it says a lot about our organization.”