KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andrew Albers normally runs after his starts, like immediately after. Like, as soon as he's taken out of the game.
He didn't get to do that on Tuesday, but he had a good excuse for changing his routine. First, he had to be interviewed on the field, a ritual interrupted by the normal Gatorade shower and shaving-cream pie. Then he ran up into the Kauffman Stadium stands to take pictures with his parents, sisters and friends, many of whom traveled from North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Then he had the press corps waiting for him in the clubhouse.
"Well, it's kind of humid out there," he said, choosing to skip his normal run in order to revel in the history he had just made. Albers is the first Minnesota Twins rookie ever to pitch eight scoreless innings in his major-league debut.
And it might have been a complete-game shutout, if not for Chris Conroy's call at first base. With Alcides Escobar at first, Lorenzo Cain hit a sharp grounder at third baseman Jamey Carroll, who made a quick throw to Brian Dozier at second. Dozier's relay, videotape showed, beat Cain to the bag, but Conroy called him safe. Albers then walked Eric Hosmer, and Ron Gardenhire believed he had no choice but to take Albers out of the game.
"I really wanted that double-play ball," Albers said. "I thought we had him. Unfortunately, we disagreed with the umpires. And I was definitely getting tired. ... But it would have been nice. It would have been unbelievable, really."
Chris Herrmann thought the whole scene was actually very believable. He had caught Albers numerous times at Rochester, and was used to batters getting themselves out against the lefthander's medium-speed mix of pitches. Especially when Albers was hitting his spots on the inside corner.
"I felt like if we kept doing what we were doing, they were trying so hard to hit that inside pitch, they would just keep popping stuff straight up in the air," Herrmann said. "That's what happens when you're worried about breaking your bat."
Gardenhire enjoyed watching the interplay between pitcher and catcher. "They definitely work really well together. They were talking about which weapon he was going to break out [next], and I'm going, 'What weapon could that be?' " the manager said. "They work together, they know each other -- it's pretty entertaining."
Chris Colabello has seen plenty of hitters look less than entertained by facing Albers' stuff. "I told [Mike Pelfrey] the other day, 'I'm telling you, he's going to give some guys some of the most uncomfortable 0-for-4s, and they're going to go back to the dugout shaking their head, not knowing how or why," Colabello said.
All the Twins know is, Albers pitched exactly the way he had all season at Rochester. And that's plenty good enough to win in the majors. He'll get another chance next Monday in Target Field, facing the Indians. Don't expect him to get any more worked up about that start as he did tonight.
"He's very professional. Just goes about his business, prepared," Gardenhire said. "You look for a guy to be so amped up, but he looked like he was really calm, in complete control. "
He was thrilled on the inside, Albers assured everyone.
"It was special, no question. Hard to put into words," Albers said humbly. "Unfortuantely, it's probably not going to get much better from there. So I'm really going to enjoy this high, and really enjoy tonight."