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News » Toronto tees off on Twins starter Kevin Slowey for 13 of 19 hits

Toronto tees off on Twins starter Kevin Slowey for 13 of 19 hits

Toronto tees off on Twins starter Kevin Slowey for 13 of 19 hits
His slider looked too much like his fastball, his pitches didn't keep hitters off the plate, and his strikes were too fat for a hot-hitting Toronto lineup. The problems for Kevin Slowey on Monday night were numerous, and after giving up a career-high 13 hits in Minnesota's 8-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays , the right-hander was sullen.

"For me as a strike-throwing pitcher, I need to make better pitches than I did," said Slowey, who gave up five runs in his 5 1/3 innings but left the game with Minnesota still in the lead. "They're definitely up there swinging, and they're not looking for me to go 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 and then start swinging. They're swinging right from the get-go."

The pouncing approach proved fruitful. Toronto's thorough lineup -- two of the Blue Jays' three home runs Monday came from No. 9 hitter Travis Snider -- collected 19 hits and extended their winning streak against the Twins to 10 games dating back to the 2007 season.

Picked up more than once by an offense that managed 13 hits of its own (brought back to life, perhaps, by the Metrodome's dingy warmth), Slowey slogged through his second start of the season much the same way he worked through his first (a six-inning, nine-hit, five-run win).

The Blue Jays had at least two runners on base in all but one of Slowey's innings and twice had three hits in a single frame. With two out and two on in the fifth, Slowey worked a six-pitch strikeout to wriggle free from the jam, but he came back for the sixth and promptly dissolved Minnesota's newly acquired three-run lead back into one on three pitches -- a Scott Rolen single and a Lyle Overbay two-run homer.

Pitching coach Rick Anderson huddled with Slowey after the game, explaining to the right-hander that he wasn't aggressive enough pitching inside. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Slowey's pitch speeds were too similar. Slowey didn't disagree with either assessment.

"Over the course of the game, I didn't feel like (my pitches were too similar). I wish I had, because it would have caused me to make a change in the way I was throwing," Slowey said. "Looking back on it, he's right; he usually is. For me to be successful, I need to change speeds more to get hitters forward and backward as well as in and out.

"I'm never going to go up there and not try to throw strikes, but I need to be a little more cognizant of what I need to do against the type of team we're playing, and that's something I didn't do well today."

When Slowey walked his first batter of the season with one out in the sixth, Gardenhire had seen enough. He called on Matt Guerrier, then Craig Breslow, then Luis Ayala to hold Minnesota's one-run edge, but Ayala couldn't keep the Twins ahead.

The right-hander allowed the tying run to score on his first pitch of the night (an RBI single) and watched two more cross home when Toronto left fielder Travis Snider muscled a 2-0 pitch through an upper deck tunnel in right field for his second home run of the game (and first career two-homer game).

Despite Slowey's struggles, Minnesota maintained a lead for most of the game. Jason Kubel started Minnesota's offense with a leadoff home run in the second inning (his first of the season), and Nick Punto added to the run total with a two-run single in the same frame.

When Toronto narrowed the score to 4-3 with Snider's leadoff home run in the fifth, the Twins pushed back with two runs in the bottom of the inning for a 6-3 lead that was trimmed quickly by Toronto's two-run sixth.

Minnesota mustered the beginning of a comeback in the bottom of the eighth when Brendan Harris led off with a pinch-hit double and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Toronto lefty Scott Downs struck out the side in order (Delmon Young and pinch-hitter Joe Crede swinging, Nick Punto looking) to end the rally.

To the manager, though, the three runners stranded at third throughout the game were no matter.

"That wasn't about our offense," Gardenhire said. "That was about our pitching."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 14, 2009

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