Loss to Devil Rays is tough to stomach

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 6, 2006 - 11:39 PM

Twins starter Carlos Silva breezed through six innings before saying he was too ill to keep pitching. The lead collapsed after that.

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - The Twins were in disbelief Wednesday night, when Carlos Silva removed himself from an eventual 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after six nearly perfect innings, insisting he was too sick to continue.

There had been no warning signs.

The Twins had a 2-0 lead. Silva had given up one hit. He'd faced the minimum of 18 hitters. He'd thrown only 59 pitches.

"All of a sudden, he was done," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He said he was going to throw up -- which, in turn, made me feel like I was going to throw up. You get the picture?"

It turned into one of this team's most disappointing losses, as rookie reliever Pat Neshek gave up the lead and fell behind in the seventh on back-to-back home runs by Greg Norton and Ty Wigginton.

With their first loss to Tampa Bay in 15 games, dating to 2004, the Twins saw their wild-card lead shrink to a half-game over the Chicago White Sox, who pounded Boston 8-1.

The Twins also remained four games behind first-place Detroit, which lost to Seattle 5-4 in 10 innings on the eve of a big four-game showdown in Minnesota.

As his speechless teammates packed for the long flight home, Silva explained what led to his decision.

"I'm not feeling good the whole game, and shoot, we have the best bullpen in the league," he said.

Silva described an upset stomach and nausea.

"It's like my body just started ... shaking," he added.

Asked if he eventually vomited, Silva said, "Yeah ... unbelievable, right when I got into the clubhouse, I started throwing up, and the trainer, you know, he gave me something."

Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson checks in with his starters after most innings, and he was still stunned by Silva's decision. He noted how Silva breezed through the sixth inning, getting three ground ball outs.

"It caught everyone off guard -- disappointing." Anderson said.

"Shoot," he added, "this time of the year, everyone's hurt and beat up."

Silva remained winless in his past six starts, despite lowering his ERA to 6.30. This marked the third time this season he's removed himself from a start curiously early.

On June 21 at Houston, he left with a 3-3 score after the sixth, complaining of heat exhaustion after throwing only 73 pitches.

On July 7, he left his start at Texas in the second inning, complaining of some pain in his knee.

Silva was right about his team's bullpen. The Twins are 60-1 when leading after seven innings.

But they couldn't get to that point this time. Neshek, who had given up a three-run homer to Alex Rodriguez on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, had another shaky outing.

Neshek left the clubhouse before reporters could ask him questions. But Gardenhire didn't think he was the main story.

"Our bullpen hasn't given up too much," Gardenhire said. "But I think the big thing here is we had a pitcher going along pretty good, probably as good as you can, and then all of a sudden there, a bad stomach puts us out of the ballgame."

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