Twins' bullpen stumbles with game in balance
KANSAS CITY -- It was a bad night for the Twins' bullpen, as left-hander Tommy Milone exited with a two-run lead with two outs in the sixth, but a combination of four relievers couldn't preserve it in a 6-5 loss to the Royals on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
It started when right-hander Blaine Boyer quickly gave up an RBI double to Christian Colon on the first pitch in relief of Milone, and it ultimately ended with closer Glen Perkins giving up a go-ahead RBI single to Mike Moustakas with two outs in the eighth as part of a two-run inning for Kansas City.
"We have to win that game if we're serious," Perkins said. "That's one we can't let slip away. The bullpen from the start to the end didn't do its job."
Manager Paul Molitor made the unconventional move to bring Perkins in with two outs in the eighth in a tie game on the road to face Moustakas, but the move backfired, as Moustakas was able to flare one to left to bring home the go-ahead run. But Molitor stood by his decision, as he went with his best reliever in the game's biggest at-bat, and Perkins was happy the skipper went with him despite the result.
"I've talked to Glen about the situations of four-out saves and those types of things, or tie games on the road by extending a little bit to get to the ninth with the game even," Molitor said. "I had my eyes on Perkins vs. Moustakas that inning whether it was 5-4 or 5-5."
Said Perkins: "He made the right move. He did. There's no two ways about it. It's my responsibility to get that guy out. I hope he does that again tomorrow if the situation presents itself."
Perkins went with a two-strike fastball instead of a slider with a runner at third, given the fact catcher Kurt Suzuki has been hobbled by a bruised right foot and that Twins pitchers have combined to throw seven wild pitches this season.
"It's tough to go to a slider there with a guy on third," Perkins said. "I have to do a better job of locating a fastball with two strikes."
Perkins was used after Casey Fien couldn't get through the eighth after coming in with two out in the seventh. Lefty Aaron Thompson issued a two-out walk and Fien was able to get through the seventh, but he gave up back-to-back singles to Salvador Perez and Paulo Orlando in the eighth. Fien got an out on an RBI groundout from Colon and got Alcides Escobar to pop up for the second out, which set the stage for Perkins coming in to face Moustakas. So while it was Perkins who gave up the hit, Fien was disappointed he couldn't finish off the eighth.
"A loss always hurts," Fien said. "And when I don't do my job that's what happens."