It would appear Glen Perkins has yet to check out despite the Minnesota Twins’ ailing season.
The way he finished off the best hitter in professional baseball Tuesday, such a course of action remains highly unlikely.
Two days after Tigers triple crown repeat candidate Miguel Cabrera beat fellow American League Central Division foe Kansas City with a walk-off home run, Perkins ousted the third baseman in a rare strikeout to clinch a 6-3 victory and snap Minnesota’s four-game losing skid.
With his wicked four-seam fastball, the All-Star closer held up a strong start from Mike Pelfrey and a sensational night at the plate for Justin Morneau.
It took seven pitches, but Perkins was able to fool Cabrera with a 96-mph heater for Cabrera’s 76th strikeout of the season, stranding two base runners. A rarely-used breaking ball put Perkins up 1-0 in the count, and he finished off the reigning AL MVP after he fouled off three straight 1-2 offerings.
Perkins (2.40 ERA) earned his 29th save — seventh among AL pitchers — in 32 chances. It certainly wasn’t his best outing, as he yielded a single to Brayan Pena and a walk to Torii Hunter in the ninth. A swing similar to Cabrera’s solo shot against Kansas City on Sunday would’ve tied a game the Twins (55-69) once led 6-1.
That was thanks in large part to Pelfrey, who yielded three earned runs on seven hits for the second outing in a row and earned his first win since July 6. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound right-hander struck out only two but improved to 5-10 and dropped his ERA a bit to 5.19.
He had some help from Morneau.
The power-hitting first baseman finished a triple short of the cycle and went 4-for-5 from the plate, taking Tigers starter Rick Porcello (4 1/3 innings, five earned runs on seven hits) deep for a two-run home run in the fourth and adding two more RBI on a fifth-inning, bases-loaded double.
“Today, I felt pretty good up there,” said Morneau, who cleared waivers last week and is eligible to be traded. “I’ve been trying to keep it simple, just not do too much. And then today, things went well. Hopefully that’ll keep my mind free, and good things will happen.”
Porcello (9-7, 4.52 ERA) took a loss for the first time since June 30.
Pedro Florimon also homered, giving Minnesota a five-run lead in the sixth. It was the defensive shortstop’s eighth homer of the season and first since July 31.
The Twins take on division-leading Detroit (73-52) again at 6:08 p.m. Wednesday.