Minnesota Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey pitched seven innings of no-hit baseball on Sunday August 15th, but was taken out by manager Ron Gardenhire after throwing too many pitches.
Gardenhire was concerned with the health of his starting pitcher. Slowey, who had missed his previous start because of elbow tendinitis, had thrown 106 pitches when the Twins manager removed him for Jon Rauch. The deposed closer quickly gave up a double to the first batter he faced.
Slowey got into a jam in the seventh when he put runners on first and second with one out. Gardenhire made a visit to the mound that inning, but Slowey got Rajai Davis to ground into a double play.
Slowey became just the fourth pitcher in the last 20 years to be taken out of a game, despite throwing seven no-hit innings.
The decision to take out Slowey in the middle of a no-hit bid created controversy with some mixed boos from the crowd.
As young as Slowey is, and with problems he is having this season with his throwing arm, Gardenhire's decision to take him out should be supported.
"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."
At 26 years old, Slowey has a strong arm. It is important to protect him. Slowey has a great career ahead of him, and Gardenhire figured keeping him in in the last two innings could create further damage to his pitching arm.
"We're not going to come close to risking this guy," said Gardenhire. "It's the way it is. It's sad. I'd be booing to because I want to see a no-hitter, but I also know I am responsible for this guy's arm."
The Twins are also in the middle of a close race in the AL Central. They currently sit three-games up on the Chicago White Soxs.
Gardenhire had to not only think about protecting his young pitcher, but winning as well. He made the right decision, no matter what the circumstance.
Slowey (11-5) will get another shot at a no-hit bid. He is rising pitcher with a bright future.