BALTIMORE – The Twins wanted to stick to their plan to save closer Glen Perkins for the Rays series that starts Tuesday — despite Perkins’ attempts to make himself available for Sunday’s game with the Orioles.
In the end, Perkins got his way. The hard way.
As the game pressed into extra innings, it became clear to the coaching staff that Perkins was going to be needed. Casey Fien, who had worked the previous two days, was unavailable. Ryan O’Rourke warmed up but was never used. The Twins opted to go with Perkins to keep the score tied in the 11th inning. He escaped a two-on, two out jam by striking out fellow All-Star Adam Jones and earned the victory as the Twins pushed across a 12th-inning run to win 4-3.
Perkins gave up a one-out single to Jimmy Paredes that went off shortstop Eduardo Escobar’s glove. With two outs, he got Gerardo Parra to hit a foul ball to left, but Eddie Rosario dropped it for an error. Paredes hit the next pitch for a single. But Perkins recovered, and Jones could not check his swing on a two-strike slider.
“I think maybe he was feeling his way just a little bit and maybe a little more finesse than power,” manager Paul Molitor said. “But he made some good pitches. Sometimes you get it in the right spot and it doesn’t matter if you throw 95. Getting Jones out was huge to extend the game.”
Perkins, who hadn’t pitched since Monday because of a sore neck, felt so good after playing catch Saturday he lobbied to throw in the bullpen right after that so he would be available Sunday. The Twins held him back.
Even after throwing in the bullpen Sunday morning, Perkins let it be known that he could pitch in the series finale in Baltimore.
“I don’t think it is a possibility,” Molitor said before the game.
But things changed.
Blaine Boyer (elbow soreness) is scheduled to throw in the bullpen Monday and could be activated from the 15-day disabled list if all goes well. The Twins could have the righthanded reliever back in time to pitch Tuesday.
“We’re going to have to make a decision on whether we want to try to get him down to Tampa or go ahead and see if he needs to go out and pitch in a [minor league] game to see if he responds to that situation,” Molitor said.
Lighten the load
The Twins didn’t hit on the field before Saturday’s game. According to Molitor, it was the second time this season that they didn’t take on-field batting practice before a night game with good weather. They didn’t hit on the field before Sunday’s game, which normally happens on day games following night games.
Molitor decided to back off the workload a bit. It’s August, and his club is in the middle of a 10-game, 11-day road trip.
“You’ve got to be more mindful of things because of how the game has changed and facilities and cages and the amount of swinging and the preparation the guys do,” Molitor said. “Sometimes going out there and hitting on the field is just more of a formality than it is a necessity. Just try to back them off physically.”
Class AAA Rochester lefthander Pat Dean was named Twins minor league player of the week after he shut out Buffalo on Wednesday.
In 24 starts, he is 10-10 with a 2.92 ERA. The 26-year-old doesn’t throw hard, but pitches inside effectively to set up pitches away.