Minneapolis J.P. Howell had a no-hitter going when he was pulled. The rookie lobbied to stay in, but even he knew his case was weak.
Howell threw 97 pitches in five hitless innings before being relieved, and Angel Berroa homered to lead the Kansas City Royals over Minnesota, 5-0, Monday night, handing the Twins their fourth straight loss.
"It was definitely a quick plea," said Howell, laughing about his conversation with manager Buddy Bell. "I argued for about two seconds, and then he told me to sit down.
"He's scary, man," Howell added. "He said, 'If you didn't throw 70 pitches in the first three innings, I'd let you go out.'"
Howell (3-5) struck out seven, walked three and hit a batter with a pitch before he was relieved by Andrew Sisco to start the sixth. Sisco promptly gave up a single to Brent Abernathy leading off, followed by Joe Mauer's single.
"We have a really strict pitch count for these younger kids," Bell said.
Asked if he had ever pulled a pitcher with a no-hitter, Bell quickly answered, "No. And I don't want to again, either."
Sisco, Ambiorix Burgos and Jeremy Affeldt completed the three-hitter for the Royals, who won for the sixth time in nine games and snapped a five-game road losing streak. Two of their four shutouts this season have come against Minnesota.
The Twins were blanked for the 10th time and fell to .500 for the first time since they were 3-3 on April 10. They have been shut out six times since the All-Star break have scored a total of three runs in their last four games.
"Disappointing ballgame for us," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I really don't know what to say about it, to tell you the truth.
"I think we only hit one or two hard, and then the big lefty Sisco came in and that was that."
Scott Baker (2-3) allowed five runs and six hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out three.