The seventh inning didn't go well for Twins righthander Boof Bonser, who walked the leadoff hitter, gave up a single, was pulled from the game and then watched both runs score and put the Twins behind momentarily.
But the entire body of work 6 1/3 innings, three earned runs on five hits, three walks and six strikeouts in the Twins' 4-3 victory was as solid as that of the other starters during the four-game series.
And that consistency is what the Twins are looking for as they try to reel in Cleveland and Detroit in the AL Central and Seattle in the wild-card race.
Bonser, 4-6 with a 4.68 ERA, has had quality starts (giving up no more than three earned runs in at least six innings) in his past two outings.
"It's about getting better over the course of the season," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "And Boof is making strides."
Twins starters posted a 2.77 ERA during the series, keeping games close until the offense got untracked. Righthander Matt Garza needs to continue the trend Tuesday when he faces Detroit in the first of three games.
"All of us starters are watching each other, and you don't want to be that guy to [falter]," Bonser said, "We want to keep going out there and keep our team in it and win."
Perkins has a setback
Lefthander Glen Perkins, who has been out seven weeks because of a strained shoulder muscle, suffered a setback when he felt pain in the same area while pitching Saturday for Class A Fort Myers.
"The trainer told me he thinks it's probably back to square one," Gardenhire said. "That's a long ways back."
Perkins has been shut down and will be re-evaluated. He also has been re-assigned to the Gulf Coast League rookie team.
Perkins had a 3.80 ERA in 12 relief appearances before leaving a May 21 game in Texas because when he felt intense pain in his shoulder. The Twins hoped Perkins could return to help out in the bullpen or be another option as a starter.
"Even with this setback, I still think he's a better pitcher now than at the start of the season," Gardenhire said. "He had more command of his stuff, a better breaking ball and now it's a process of getting back on the mound and throwing."
Outfielder Torii Hunter has a slightly sore left hamstring. He could have played Sunday but decided it was a good time to take a day off. He did strike out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.
Throw in today's off day, and Hunter should be ready to roll against the Tigers on Tuesday.
"It's a mental break, too." Hunter said.
Jason Tyner started in center field in place of Hunter. Lew Ford usually is the choice to back up Hunter, but Gardenhire didn't like how Ford played the game-ending fly ball Saturday; Ford was at least 50 feet away when Hunter ran over to catch the ball.
|Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi||2||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: J. Lester||6|
|William & Mary||74||FINAL|
|North Dakota St||83|
|South Dakota St||60||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||58|
|San Jose St||75||FINAL|
|(5) West Virginia||71||FINAL|
|San Diego State||63|