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Updated: September 26th, 2011 9:56pm
Twins Daily:  Kevin Slowey stalls out again as Twins lose 99th

Twins Daily: Kevin Slowey stalls out again as Twins lose 99th

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- By fading in the middle innings yet again, Kevin Slowey became the first pitcher since 1951 to make at least eight starts and lose each one, as the Minnesota Twins fell to the Kansas City Royals 7-3 on Monday night.

The skinny

Once again, Slowey pitched well through the first few innings until running into trouble in the middle frames. Slowey was responsible for all four sixth-inning runs scored by the Royals, and he was pulled after not being able to record the final out.

Slowey was charged with five earned runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three, walked none and threw 97 pitches.

Slowey finishes the season having allowed at least five earned runs in six of his eight starts -- this after starting the season in the bullpen, only to wind up spending a total of 94 days on the disabled list with shoulder and abdominal issues.

To make matters worse, Slowey fell out of favor with some members of the field staff and front office because of a perceived unwillingness to embrace a bullpen role.

"I don't know that I could sum that up," Slowey said when asked about his level of frustration this season. "It would be a pretty long summation. But it's been a very difficult year. Not just for me, but it's been difficult for a lot of guys in this clubhouse. There's nothing more for me to do. I can't go back and win a game now."

The Twins tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Rene Tosoni, and Michael Cuddyer provided a brief two-run cushion with a two-run blast into the left-field seats.

The Royals went on to add two insurance runs after Slowey left -- one off Jim Hoey in the eighth and another off Phil Dumatrait in the ninth.

The Twins (61-99) must now win their final two games to avoid losing 100 for only the second time in franchise history.

"At the end of spring training, I don't think anybody would have thought that we were going to lose 100 games," Cuddyer said. "But it's the direction this season went. Nothing went well for us, and on top of that we didn't play well. So when you don't play well and nothing goes well, you're trying not to lose 100 games."

Turning point

Slowey had allowed only one run until the sixth, but then Melky Cabrera led off the frame with an infield single, and Billy Butler doubled home pinch-runner Mitch Maier. After Eric Hosmer grounded out to first base, Salvador Perez hit a sac fly to tie the game 3-3, and Mike Moustakas followed with a home run to right field that put the Royals up 4-3.

Following another infield single to shortstop by Lorenzo Cain and a single to center by Johnny Giavotella, Slowey was yanked for Jim Hoey, who gave up an RBI single to Alcides Escobar that made it 5-3.

"I feel like the sixth inning was kind of a microcosm for my season," Slowey said. "I mean, just an absolute dearth of consistency. I made two or three good pitches, then leave one over the plate and give up a double, or make a couple good pitches and get them fouled off and give up another hit."

Numbers game

20: Home runs for Cuddyer this season, marking the third time in his career he has reached that plateau. "I've always said all along, individual stats to me is not all that important," Cuddyer said. "It's winning games, and I've always said that your season is as good as the team's. Obviously it's not been great."

4: Infield singles to shortstop for the Royals.

5: Doubles for Chris Parmelee this month. Parmelee went 1-for-3 with a two-bagger and a walk, raising his batting line to .343/.425/.543.

0-8: The record of St. Louis Browns pitcher Lou Sleater as a starter in 1951 -- the last pitcher to lose all eight decisions as a starter.

Overheard

"I'm not going to go into this offseason assuming anything. I'm going to take a little bit of time off after the season and then get after it. I mean, I know the results that I had were not ones that I wanted, and I'm going to do everything that I can to make sure that doesn't happen next year."
-- Slowey, when asked about his status heading into next year.

Health report

• C Joe Mauer (pneumonia) spoke with reporters in the clubhouse prior to Monday's game about his current health situation.

On deck

The Twins will turn to right-hander Anthony Swarzak (3-7, 4.42) on Tuesday (7:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) in hopes of avoiding team loss No. 100. Swarzak will face right-hander Sean O'Sullivan (2-5, 6.92).

O'Sullivan has started nine times for the Royals this season, including twice against the Twins. On April 30 he walked seven in six innings, but held the Twins to one earned run on two hits while striking out three. On June 2, O'Sullivan lasted just 2 2/3. He gave up seven runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks and was demoted to Triple-A shortly after.

Coming up

• Wednesday: vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (8-13, 4.48) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (12-8, 3.98)

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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