Swarzak stuns with no-hitter into eighth inning

Thanks to the emergency starter's phenomenal outing, the Twins were able to escape with a victory in extra innings.

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Before Saturday's game, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire indicated that he would be happy with five innings or about 75 pitches from Anthony Swarzak, who hadn't started a game since May 10, when he pitched seven innings for Class AAA Rochester against Louisville.

"It depends on how he's feeling," Gardenhire said.

A few hours later, the Twins had recorded a 1-0, 10-inning victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Target Field, made possible by 105 pitches from Swarzak in a brilliant spot start which saw him take a no-hitter into the eighth inning.

"I didn't even know I threw 105 pitches," Swarzak said. "I feel like I threw 80, to be honest with you."

The adrenaline might still have been pumping through the 25-year-old Swarzak, who pitched 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball before Peter Bourjos whacked Swarzak's 99th pitch of the evening down the left-field line for a double.

Swarzak held the Angels to that one hit and two walks with four strikeouts in eight innings. He dominated with a mix of fastballs, changeups and curveballs -- and a slider he has developed over the past year.

Rene Rivera, who caught Swarzak on Saturday and also while they were at Rochester together, said it was the best he has seen him.

"All his pitches were working," Rivera said. "He was throwing the slider, curveball, changeup for a strike when he needed and for a ball when he needed. He was keeping the ball down. That's the thing that was different from when he was pitching in Rochester. He got good stuff and he showed he can pitch.

"He showed he can pitch here."

Swarzak, however, was locked in a battle with Angels ace Jered Weaver, who hasn't won in May after going 6-0 in April but held the Twins to two hits and two walks over nine innings. Both were out by the 10th inning, and the Twins loaded the bases off Angels relievers Hisanori Takahashi and Kevin Jepsen.

With Los Angeles bringing in an outfielder as a fifth infielder, Danny Valencia lofted a deep fly to right that fell in, scoring pinch runner Jason Repko with the winning run. It was only the Twins' sixth victory in 20 games at Target Field this year.

It was an unexpected roll by Swarzak, who was replacing Francisco Liriano, who needed to rest a slightly sore shoulder.

Swarzak kept an announced crowd of 39,824 cemented to their seats to see how long it would last.

Gardenhire didn't get a chance to watch Swarzak exceed expectations from the bench because he was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing with second base umpire Andy Fletcher, who called Denard Span out on a pickoff play.

"We really like him," Gardenhire said of Swarzak. "We like his arm. I like him out in the bullpen. He's a gamer. He's not afraid to do whatever you ask.

"We don't know what is going to happen with Liriano for another week. He could fit into that slot if Liriano can't go the next time too."

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