If this was Jose Berrios' final start with the Twins, if the two-time All-Star is wearing another uniform next weekend, bear in mind that he was outpitched on Saturday, that he was charged with the loss.
Will that make his departure sting any less? Nah, didn't think so.
Patrick Sandoval dominated the Twins on Saturday, coming within two outs of becoming the first pitcher ever to pitch a no-hitter against the Twins in Minnesota, and the Angels turned two unearned runs against the razor-sharp Berrios into a memorable 2-1 victory at Target Field.
"One of the best starts I've seen in a long time. He was in control of everything that he did tonight," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of Sandoval, who walked one batter, hit a couple more, and watched Miguel Sano reach on a throwing error by shortstop Jose Iglesias. But he also struck out 13 Twins with a mix of pitches that included changeups, sliders, curveballs and only infrequent appearances by his fastball.
Brent Rooker, batting .083 and without a major league hit since April 26, sliced a first-pitch slider down the right-field line with one out in the ninth, a double that drew loud cheers from the announced 22,240 in attendance and ended Sandoval's bid to become the sixth pitcher (and third Angel, after Nolan Ryan in 1974 and Jered Weaver in 2012) to no-hit the Twins.
"When I saw the pitch, I thought he had finally hung a changeup. Turned out to be a slider, kind of came in on my hands," Rooker said of his opposite-field hit, only the third ball driven out of the infield by the Twins. "I was able to put the oop-sie swing on it and get a lucky hit."
Luck or not, it nearly sparked a winning rally. Josh Donaldson drove Rooker home with a two-out double into the left-field corner off Angels closer Raisel Iglesias, but Sano swung at a 3-2 changeup below the strike zone to end the game.
"It was probably one of the worst [sliders] I threw all day. It just spun up there. He didn't put that good of a swing on it," Sandoval said of the pitch that Rooker hit. "Guys in the dugout were saying it didn't look like he knew where it went."
Now the question is whether Twins fans will soon be wondering where Berrios went. The righthander delivered a vintage performance in his last start before Friday's trade deadline, holding the Angels hitless after the second inning, retiring 15 straight batters, striking out only four in his seven strong innings, but issuing no walks.
"He was pitching to contact a little bit more tonight," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He had a plan. He went out there and executed his plan very very well, again went deep into the game for us, saved our bullpen, gave us a chance to win and pitched great. It was another nice start for Jose."
It also did nothing to lower the asking price, or the interest of potential suitors, for the 27-year-old Puerto Rican, one of the most prominent and successful pitchers mentioned in trade rumors. Berrios can become a free agent 15 months from now, has made it clear he intends to seek a contract far larger than the Twins have ever given a pitcher, and might bring back a rich haul in prospects from a World Series contender.
Did it cross his mind that this might be his farewell to Target Field?
"Not really," insisted Berrios, who joked with his wife and family before the game that he didn't want to pitch Saturday. "We are good in Minnesota. We are enjoying it so far, our stay here. I want to keep doing that for hopefully six, seven, eight more years."
He is aware of reports that teams are bidding for him, yet allowed only a couple of unearned runs; it might have been dueling shutouts if not for Sano failing to catch a relay throw from Jorge Polanco in the first inning.
"A lot of people talking, a lot of movement," he said. But "I have to do my work. Every time I have a chance to go out there and compete, I'm going to do my best."
In addition to Berrios, Twins such as Andrelton Simmons, Michael Pineda, Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles have been rumored to be available in trade, and Nelson Cruz has already departed.
But losing his best pitcher, Baldelli said, "that's not something that I'm even going to begin to contemplate throughout the rest of this week. We know what time of the year it is. … He's one of the best pitchers in baseball and I'll leave it at that."