Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Postgame: Perkins insisted on pitching the 9th

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: May 29, 2013 - 11:51 PM

A couple of extras from tonight's 4-1 victory over Milwaukee, a win that moves the Twins ahead of Kansas City and out of the basement of the A.L. Central:

-- Ron Gardenhire told Glen Perkins before the game that he likely would not be used on Wednesday, that after pitching two straight days -- and blowing a save during a 29-pitch ninth inning on Tuesday -- he was thinking about resting the Twins' closer.

"I think I said, 'Oh, hell no,' " Perkins said after needing just 14 pitches to preserve the Twins' 4-1 victory over Milwaukee. "I learned that from Joe Nathan -- if you're not hurt, you can pitch."

The blown save, Perkins said, was forgotten "by the time we got home last night. I know I'm not going to be perfect, but it feels a lot better when we win." And if the Twins have a chance to complete a four-game sweep of the Brewers on Thursday?

"It's probably going to take some work to talk him into it," Perkins said. But he sounded ready to get to work.

-- Speaking of saves, Brian Duensing was typically humble about saving the Twins' win on Tuesday, the first save of his career -- no wait, the first save of his LIFE, at any level, Duensing admitted. He received the ball from the final out, and the dugout scorecard, but made it clear that he's happy with a couple of souvenirs. No need to make this a regular event.

"I enjoyed it, but let's not do that again," Duensing said with a laugh. "We've got guys for that. And I'm 1-for-1."

Closing a game is more tense than he is used to, even with the lefthander telling himself "not to worry, don't psyche myself out." He was especially cautious after getting two outs in the 14th inning, knowing how easy it is to let up, thinking you're about finished, then let it slip away.

Particularly with Ryan Braun, perhaps the National League's best righthanded hitter, walking up to face him.
Duensing's first pitch was a sinker that didn't -- it hung high in the strike zone, and Duensing cringed. "I felt like it was right in his wheelhouse," Duensing said.

But Braun missed it, fouling it straight back. Two pitches later, he hit an easy ground ball to end the game.

"That first pitch, I left it up about letter-high. I saw my life flash before my eyes, to be honest," Duensing said. "I told myself after that, 'If you're going to miss, miss down.' "

-- Chris Herrmann went 1-for-18 in his September audition last summer. So his .333 batting average after one start in 2013 looks a lot better.

Come to think of it, Gardenhire said, so does Herrmann himself.

"He handled himself great tonight," the manager said of his third catcher, called upon to give Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit a break from behind the plate. "He handed the pitcher really well, made some tough blocks, had some great swings up there."

Herrmann singled home a run with two outs in the first inning, his second career RBI, and launched a warning-track fly ball to center field in the seventh. And he kept Deduno focused with a lead.

"We put him right underneath the gun, at home with Sammy pitching," Gardenhire said. "He's not the easiest guy to catch, and he did a nice job."

-- The Twins will have new uniforms on Thursday -- they will be wearing the road blues of the 1948 St. Paul Saints -- and they might have a different roster, too. Trevor Plouffe was activated after passing another concussion test Wednesday, but then scratched from the lineup when his left calf tightened up during pregame sprints. It's the same calf that bothered Plouffe in spring training, so the Twins will be cautious.

And with only two healthy bench players, they'll make a decision right away about whether Plouffe can play again. "We can't play with just two guys on the bench," Gardenhire said. The eight-man bullpen is here to stay until the starting pitchers are regularly pitching into the seventh inning, so the Twins can't afford to carry a player too hurt to use.
 

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