Twins 1, Rangers 0

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The no-hitter that should have been… 17 strikeouts in eight innings… 17.
It was a rainy day in Minneapolis, which of course meant that it was a great day to go to a ball game. (This is the sort of reverse logic we get with an indoor stadium.) Not only was the weather cooperating, but my very first favorite Twin, Gary Gaetti, was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame, partly because this weekend was the 20 year reunion of the 1987 World Championship team. Adding to the day’s potential was the fact that Johan Santana was on the mound. Thus, it made sense that my family opted not to go to the lake and went to the Metrodome instead.
This is the third time I’ve seen Santana pitch this season. Both of the previous times I thought to myself, perhaps I’ll see a no-hitter today. Both of the previous times, nothing close to that happened. But yesterday… yesterday Santana set a team record of 17 strikeouts in a single game (and with Joe Nathan’s appearance in the 9th, the Twins pitched a total of 19 strikeouts), and only gave up two hits, both to Sammy Sosa. He mowed down the side in three separate innings and only had one inning in which he didn’t strike out a batter. In fact, it was the only inning in which he didn’t strikeout at least two batters. So dominant was his performance that it didn’t matter that the Twins could only muster a single homerun from Michael Cuddyer.
This is also the first time I’ve ever seen a Metrodome crowd boo Joe Nathan, the reigning King of Twins Saves. The major league record for strikeouts is 20, done by a few people, including Clemens and Kerry Wood. After mowing down the side in the 8th to bring his total to 17, it seemed to me that the smart move was to bring Santana in in the 9th and let him go for the record. If he gave up a hit or even a non-strikeout out, then sure, bring in Nathan for the save. But at least let him go for the record… the man was on fire yesterday. Luckily for Nathan, the boos died down quickly and he was able to pitch a hitless 9th with two strikeouts of his own to end the game.

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