Perkins' gem sends Twins past Cards

BY foxsports • June 27, 2009

Another National League team got rude treatment from the Minnesota Twins.

Glen Perkins worked seven innings of four-hit ball in 92-degree heat and Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer had key hits in a 3-1 victory over the slumping St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

Joe Mauer was 1 for 2 with two walks and is batting .396 for the Twins, who are 38-37 overall but 11-5 in interleague play. Kubel and Cuddyer each had two hits and an RBI, and Perkins, whose previous three career at-bats were strikeouts, contributed a pair of sacrifices.

"We've been spoiled," closer Joe Nathan said. "This year has been unbelievable for us, the cities we've got to visit and the players we've got to play against."

Adam Wainwright (8-5) also lasted seven innings, his 14th straight start of six-plus innings. He allowed three runs, one unearned. The Cardinals totaled seven hits against four pitchers after averaging 12 runs in Wainwright's three previous starts, all victories.

St. Louis has totaled three runs during a three-game losing streak.

"Offensively, we've got to do more," manager Tony La Russa said. "We've hit the ball decent at times, but we're capable of stringing together better at-bats, tougher at-bats."

Nathan worked the ninth for his 13th straight save and 18th in 20 chances overall, a key out coming when he struck out Albert Pujols on a slider after Colby Rasmus' leadoff double.

"He's obviously not a guy you want to see in that situation," Nathan said. "But you've got to make pitches, change your look, go in and out, up and down, and even that might not be good enough at the end of the day."

Nathan hasn't allowed a run in 15 innings in his last 15 appearances this season and has pitched 13 straight scoreless innings in interleague play.

Perkins (3-4) retired 10 in a row from the last out of the first inning to the last out of the fourth and the Cardinals had only one runner in scoring position the first six innings. Rasmus reached on a bunt hit to start the seventh, sliding to elude the tag of Justin Morneau at first, and scored on Rick Ankiel's two-out double.

"It was just keeping the ball down and letting it move," Perkins said. "You get through the game quick and there's not a lot of pitches that you waste."

Wainwright got two quick outs to start the game before walking Mauer and Morneau, and Kubel broke his bat on an RBI single that gave the Twins the lead. A second run scored when third baseman Joe Thurston booted Cuddyer's two-out grounder and then threw late to first.

Wainwright walked none in his previous start. He wasn't trying to walk Mauer, no matter how well the Twins star was hitting.

"Even if he gets on base," Wainwright added, "the second one is unforgivable. Really what it comes down to is the first inning, the two-out walks."

Kubel doubled to start the sixth and Cuddyer followed with an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

Ankiel, the Cardinals' left fielder, saved a run in the third when he threw out Mauer trying to score from second on Cuddyer's two-out single on a tight play.

The Twins and Cardinals are playing for the first time since 2001, when St. Louis swept a three-game series at home. Minnesota has won five straight series openers and has not dropped the opener of an interleague series since June 22, 2007 at Florida.


St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Jason Smith, the second pick of the NFL draft in April, threw a first pitch after collecting autographs from Cardinals players earlier in the day. All the Rams' rookies attended the game. Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith also threw out a first pitch. ... Gardenhire's first career hit came at old Busch Stadium, a single up the middle against Bruce Sutter in 1981 when he was with the Mets. He recalled a friend attending the game tripped Fredbird, the Cardinals' mascot. ... La Russa was honored for his 2,500th career victory, accomplished Sunday in Kansas City, before the second.

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