Ron Gardenhire insists Matt Capps still has the job, but options include Joe Nathan and Glen Perkins.
Matt Capps is still the Twins' closer, manager Ron Gardenhire insisted Sunday afternoon, knowing the righthander wasn't happy with him.
Gardenhire had just pulled Capps with a two-run lead in the ninth inning, as the Brewers had two runners on base and Prince Fielder coming to the plate.
With Saturday's nightmare fresh on his mind, Gardenhire summoned lefthander Glen Perkins, who fanned Fielder and Casey McGehee, sealing the 9-7 victory at Target Field.
"Cappy's still our closer," Gardenhire said. "He's really fired up right now, I guarantee it. He's hot at me, and that's fine. I'll take it. I'll wear it. Whatever it takes, but we're trying to win baseball games."
Indeed, these are desperate times. After blowing a seven-run lead in Saturday's loss, the Twins needed this game to win the series and pull back to 10 games under .500, at 36-46.
The backdrop to all this, of course, is that former closer Joe Nathan appears to be regaining his form. Sunday marked the third time in three outings that he delivered a perfect eighth inning, earning another hold.
Capps entered Saturday's game with an 0.82 ERA in his previous 11 appearances, but that success was clearly lost on Twins fans when he turned a 7-4 ninth-inning lead into an 8-7 loss.
It was Capps' sixth blown save in 19 chances, and the sellout crowd booed when he entered Sunday's game. The tension mounted as singles by Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart put runners at first and second with one out.
When Gardenhire went to the mound, Capps reminded Gardenhire that he'd had good success against Fielder.
"Considering Fielder is 0-for-7 with three [strikeouts] against me, it was pretty hard," Capps said.
Capps thought he made some good pitches Saturday and Sunday but noted the bloop hits and grounders through the infield.
"I understand [Fielder's] a dangerous hitter, and it worked out, and it looked great, but it's frustrating for me," Capps said.
Capps said it was the first time in his career that he'd been pulled in the middle of a save situation, but he was still on the field giving high fives after the game.
Asked if he was indeed "hot" at Gardenhire, Capps said: "He hasn't talked to me, hasn't said a word to me, walked right by me. His job is to make the moves that are best for the team, and that's what he did. I've got no problem with that. It worked out. We won the ballgame. That's the ultimate goal, and that's what he did."
Pitching for the fifth time in six days, Perkins was terrific again, lowering his ERA to 1.80. After swinging through a slider to end the game, McGehee broke his bat over his knee in frustration.
"It was a fun experience," Perkins said of his first career save. "I think we've got two guys who are good closers, and they're going to be our guys, and sometimes you've got to pick them up, and I was glad I was able to do that today."
Perkins said he never gave much thought to being an eighth-inning guy, let alone a closer. He's just happy to be pitching well, but it's worth noting that Capps and Nathan are both potential free agents at season's end.
For now, the 2012 closer controversy can wait. This one just got interesting again.
Joe Christensen • jchristensen@startribune
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda||0||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison||2|
|Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer||3||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale||6|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront||5||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson||1|
|Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon||2||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley||3|
|Minnesota||1||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Philadelphia||6||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Miami||4||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Boston||0||Top 6th Inning|
|Cleveland||1||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Detroit||5||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Texas||0||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Colorado||1||Bottom 4th Inning|
|Chicago Cubs||1||Bottom 3rd Inning|
|Los Angeles||0||Top 3rd Inning|
|Milwaukee||0||Top 1st Inning|
|Oakland - J. Samardzija||8:05 PM|
|LA Angels - C. Rasmus|
|Washington - S. Strasburg||8:10 PM|
|Seattle - R. Elias|
|Green Bay||9/4/14 7:30 PM|
|(6) Jacksonville St||7||FINAL|
|(8) Michigan State||45|
|(5) Ohio State||34||FINAL|
|(17) Notre Dame||48|
|(10) South Dakota St||18||FINAL|
|(16) Clemson||21||4th Qtr 4:03|
|Liberty||22||4th Qtr 12:14|
|(23) North Carolina||49|
|Ohio U||14||4th Qtr 0:01|
|Louisiana Tech||3||3rd Qtr 14:41|
|Stephen F Austin||10||3rd Qtr 15:00|
|(20) Kansas State||28|
|Fresno State||7||2nd Qtr 0:23|
|Southern Miss||0||2nd Qtr 0:35|
|Texas-El Paso||14||2nd Qtr 10:11|
|North Texas||0||2nd Qtr 8:50|
|(1) Florida State||10||2nd Qtr 8:55|
|(14) Wisconsin||8:15 PM|
|South Dakota||9:30 PM|
|(25) Washington||9:30 PM|
|Utah State||8/31/14 6:00 PM|
|SMU||8/31/14 6:30 PM|
|Miami-Florida||9/1/14 7:00 PM|
|Arizona||9/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||9/5/14 6:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/5/14 9:30 PM|
|SMU||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Fla Atlantic||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Buffalo||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(24) Missouri||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Arkansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(8) McNeese State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Central Mich||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Akron||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ill||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Kansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(4) Oklahoma||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ky||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|SC State||9/6/14 11:30 AM|
|Navy||9/6/14 12:00 PM|
|UAB||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|Colorado||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(1) Eastern Wash||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(15) USC||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ohio U||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Northern Ill||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Missouri State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ball State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Maryland||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Eastern Mich||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|Georgia Tech||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss||9/6/14 3:30 PM|
|Old Dominion||9/6/14 5:00 PM|
|(8) Michigan State||9/6/14 5:30 PM|
|(19) Arizona State||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|San Jose St||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|East Carolina||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(9) So Carolina|
|Duke||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(17) Sam Houston St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Michigan||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(17) Notre Dame|
|Lamar||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(21) Texas A&M|
|Northwestern St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|BYU||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Citadel||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|San Diego St||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Virginia Tech||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State|
|Memphis||9/6/14 9:00 PM|
|Colorado State||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Air Force||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Oregon State||9/6/14 9:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||9/6/14 10:00 PM|
|Columbus||0||2nd Half 25:00|
|FC Dallas||0||1st Half 25:00|
|Real Salt Lake||9:30 PM|
|Winnipeg||8/31/14 3:00 PM|
|Toronto||9/1/14 12:00 PM|
|Edmonton||9/1/14 3:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/5/14 6:30 PM|
|Calgary||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/7/14 12:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/7/14 3:00 PM|
|Chicago||66||4th Qtr 0:26|