Twins' Baker not quite perfect, but it will do

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 2, 2007 - 10:51 PM

Twins pitcher Scott Baker retired the first 24 Royals he faced before settling for a one-hit, one-walk gem.

view larger photos

  

Scott Baker was an afterthought when the Twins reported to spring training, even though the biggest story was the starting pitching staff and its myriad concerns.

He began the season at Class AAA Rochester and seemed forgotten behind other blue-chip pitching prospects such as Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins.

But on Friday night at the Metrodome, Baker emerged from the shadows once and for all, coming within three outs of the first nine-inning perfect game in team history, as the Twins defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-0 in the second game of a day-night doubleheader.

Baker had to settle for the 15th one-hitter in team history, after walking John Buck to start the ninth inning and surrendering a one-out single to Mike Sweeney.

"I made the right pitch," Baker said of the sinker Sweeney muscled to center field. "It just wasn't meant to be tonight."

Still, the Twins earned a memorable doubleheader split after a 9-4 loss in Game 1.

"I think we just went from the worst game we played all year to almost perfect," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That was a great performance by Scott Baker. We needed that. He's the whole story."

After retiring the first 24 batters, Baker (8-6) might have missed in his bid for the 18th nine-inning perfect game in major league history, but he entrenched himself as a force in the Twins rotation.

An announced crowd of 24,986 began rising to its feet with each out in the seventh inning, urging Baker toward history.

The only Twins pitcher to finish a game without allowing anyone to reach base was Dean Chance on Aug. 6, 1967, and that 2-0 victory over Boston was shortened to five innings, so it's not on MLB's official list of perfect games.

Baker finished with 111 pitches -- 81 strikes, 30 balls.

Despite that command, his bid for perfection ended with a five-pitch walk to Buck. He fell behind in the count 3-0, threw a strike and then another ball.

"I thought the first one was borderline, but the umpire [Jim Wolf] did a fantastic job," Baker said.

The walk actually ended a streak of 38 consecutive Royals batters retired for Baker, dating to his start vs. Kansas City on July 30. He retired the final 14 batters he faced in that 3-1 victory.

Baker, 25, said he wasn't overly nervous for the ninth inning and he didn't think the walk rattled him.

When Joey Gathright hit into a fielder's choice, Baker was two outs from the sixth no-hitter in Twins history. The last came from Eric Milton against the Angels on Sept. 11, 1999.

And, oh yes, Baker knew he was close. "Personally, I know every hit I give up," he said. "From the first inning on, I know if I'm giving up hits or not."

Baker had given up 29 hits in his previous three starts, including 14 against Seattle on Aug. 21, showing just how unlikely this performance was.

  • related content

  • Garza is perfect ... 0-9 in career at Metrodome

    Saturday September 1, 2007

    Matt Garza fell to 0-9 in 11 career games at the Metrodome after taking the loss in Game 1 of...

  • Landowners make new pitch to Hennepin commissioners

    Friday August 31, 2007

    Saying they want to settle the dispute over the new ballpark site, landowners sent a $33 million settlement offer.

  • A list made, a list missed

    Saturday September 1, 2007

    One-hitters at the Metrodome, including Scott Baker's:Pitcher(s) Date Score The hitKen Schrom, Twins June 26, 1985 Min 2, KC 1 Single in 3rd by Willie WilsonScott...

  • Game 1 recap: Kansas City 9, Twins 4

    Saturday September 1, 2007

    MVPRoss Gload, Kansas CityHe finished with three RBI, including a two-run homer off Twins reliever Matt Guerrier.THE STATS1.54 Kyle Davies'...

  • Game 2 recap: Twins 5, Kansas City 0

    Saturday September 1, 2007

    MVPScott Baker, TwinsThe righthander came three outs from the 18th perfect game in major league history and settled for a...

  • GAME 1: KANSAS CITY 9, TWINS 4 GAME 2: TWINS 5, KANSAS CITY 0 Up next: vs. Kansas City • 11:10 a.m. today • No TV • 1500-AM

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ArizonaJ. Collmenter (10-8)000
MinnesotaR. Nolasco (5-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 2nd Prd 6:35
NY Islanders 2
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close