Home > Uncategorized > Slowey flirts with no-no in loss to Seattle

Slowey flirts with no-no in loss to Seattle

September 22, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s not often that baseball and Greek mythology mix.

But as right-hander Kevin Slowey sees it, the Twins are like Sisyphus, the king who was punished by being forced to roll a giant boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and repeat the task for eternity.

For the Twins, that burden would be their current losing streak, which reached 11 with Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Mariners at Target Field. Minnesota had opportunities to end the skid late each of the last two nights, only to watch them slip away.

“At this point, in this clubhouse, it’s like we’re watching the fate of Sisyphus himself,” said Slowey, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. “We just get to the top of that hill, and just can’t seem to figure it out. So, it’s been pretty tough.”

The Twins’ current skid ranks as the third longest in club history. Minnesota last suffered 11 consecutive losses in 1982, losing 14 in a row from May 19 to June 2 en route to a 60-102 record.

With their 95th loss of the season, the Twins have to win four of their last eight games to avoid losing 100 games for just the second time since the club moved to Minnesota.

“What did we have 11, 12, 13 hits on the board tonight?” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team banged out 14 hits. “We actually hit the ball pretty good. Another loss. We had opportunities there at the end to come up with another big hit, and we were one away again.”

For the second straight night, the Twins put a scare into Mariners closer Brandon League. However, once again they came up short.

A pair of one-out singles by Michael Cuddyer and Chris Parmelee, along with a two-out single by Trevor Plouffe cut the lead to just one run. But Brian Dinkelman grounded softly in front of the plate to end the ballgame.

Minnesota also had a chance to do some more damage in the fifth, but was unable to score with the bases loaded and none out for the second straight night. Plouffe grounded a 2-0 pitch softly to the pitcher to start a double play, and Dinkelman followed with a grounder to the catcher to end the threat.

Gardenhire was particularly disappointed in Plouffe’s double-play ball, as the shortstop grounded out after Mariners reliever Jeff Gray had thrown six straight balls out of the strike zone.

“In hindsight, I would’ve taken that at-bat a different way,” Plouffe said. “In my mind, I said I need to zone up and get the perfect pitch, and I didn’t get the perfect pitch. I was trying to be aggressive. When you get up there in that situation and you have a chance to put your team ahead or put the game away, especially the way we’ve been playing lately, it kind of gets the best of you. It definitely did to me today.”

After being dominant early, Slowey extended a losing streak of his own.

In his first two trips through the Mariners lineup, Slowey allowed just one baserunner and did not give up a hit. Three outs and nine batters later, he left with the Twins trailing.

Ichiro Suzuki got the first hit off Slowey with a single, and Kyle Seager followed with an RBI double. Dustin Ackley then singled to tie the ballgame.

“The kid is a strikethrower,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “We did a better job the third time around. Ichi got us going and then Seager really backspun the ball the other way and Ackley did the same. When a kid is throwing like that, you’ve got to recognize what he’s doing the first and second time around and make some adjustments.”

Slowey surrendered five runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings with six strikeouts. He did not walk a batter, but three straight two-out hits in the sixth and three singles in the seventh knocked him out of the game.

Slowey is the first Twins pitcher to lose seven straight games since Boof Bonser dropped eight straight starts from June 16 to Aug. 18, 2007. Slowey dropped to 0-7 with a 7.15 ERA in seven starts this season.

“I think every win is important, not just for me, but for this team,” Slowey said. “I’m not going out there and trying to make sure that I get a win so much as we need to win games in here. We’re doing everything that we can, we’re just coming up short. And we’re coming up short in a lot of different ways, but that’s just how it is.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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