Sowers perfect early, but Tribe falls late
Left-hander goes eight innings in best start of season
CLEVELAND -- The secret's been out on Jeremy Sowers for the better part of two seasons.Fresh out of the Minors at the age of 23, Sowers baffled hitters in his 2006 rookie season on his way to a 7-4 record and what appeared to be a locked-down spot in the Tribe's starting rotation. Almost two years, a bloated ERA, seemingly countless trips between Cleveland and Triple-A Buffalo, 11 losses and just two wins later, Sowers became somewhat of a mystery. But after a couple starts where he looked to have figured something out, Sowers, aside for a little bit of bad luck in the sixth inning, had all the answers Sunday at Progressive Field. Since the Twins broke a ninth-inning tie to beat the Tribe, 4-2, the game will go in the books as a no-decision for Sowers. But it will be remembered as a day Sowers flirted with perfection and, for the first time in nearly two years, had complete command on the mound. "I consider myself a more advanced pitcher than I was two years ago," Sowers said. "There was probably some lack of scouting and luck I was able to get away with back then. Now, it's about staying one step ahead as opposed to getting away with stuff because there's hours of film on you. "I guess there are no secrets anymore, so you just have to keep them guessing with the stuff they know you have." Sowers kept the Twins guessing in nearly every at-bat. Two weeks removed from a start where he used 93 pitches in four innings, Sowers made it much easier on himself over eight innings of work, getting ahead early in counts to induce quick outs and not waste any time or pitches when it was time to strike someone out. "We've been talking about Jeremy from start to start and how he continues to evolve, and you really saw him put it together today," manager Eric Wedge said. "I just felt like he was in command of the ballgame." He took command right away, shaking off a bullpen session he called "less than spectacular," as he mowed down the first 15 Twins without appearing to break a sweat. The only real threat to Sowers' perfection at that point came in the fifth, when Jason Kubel lined a shot right into Sowers' glove. "I was totally aware of it," Sowers said of being perfect through five innings. "It didn't really affect the way I pitched." It didn't, really. Staked to a 1-0 advantage thanks to a Sal Fasano sacrifice fly in the second inning, Sowers let the game out of his control in the sixth.
|"We've been talking about Jeremy from start to start and how he continues to evolve, and you really saw him put it together today. I just felt like he was in command of the ballgame."|
|-- manager Eric Wedge|
Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.