Glen Perkins and Bert Blyleven Have a Lot in Common

Duane WinnCorrespondent IApril 15, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Glen Perkins of the Minnesota Twins poses during Photo Day on February 26, 2007 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Glen Perkins is the least heralded member of the Minnesota Twins' starting rotation.

That's likely to change following his performance Tuesday night against the major's most explosive offense in the Twins' 3-2 victory.

Perkins scattered seven hits over eight innings and surrendered just two earned runs to the Toronto Blue Jays who entered the game with the league's highest batting average and the highest number of runs scored.

After allowing a run-scoring single to Rod Barajas in the second inning, Perkins retired 16 of the next 19 Blue Jays he faced.

The Blue Jays, who pelted the Twins for 19 hits the night before, finally broke Perkins' spell in the eighth inning as Alex Rios doubled with two outs and scored on Vernon Wells' single.

Perkins relinquished the mound to Joe Nathan in the ninth inning with the score tied at 2-all.

Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth and Jesse Crain followed with two more scoreless innings to pick up the victory.

Joe Crede halted the Twins' three-game slide with a double to center, scoring Justin Morneau who had singled earlier in the 11th inning.

In 2008, his first full Major League season, Perkins was 12-4 with an 4.41 ERA. But he didn't garner much attention in comparison to Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker, who emerged as the ace of the staff.

Perkins is no longer flying under the radar.

Perkins' effort Tuesday against the Blue Jays was his second gem in a row, although he again didn't pick up the victory. In his first start last week against the Seattle Mariners, Perkins allowed just earned one run in eight innings, surrendering just five hits and a pair of walks. He was saddled with the loss in the Twins' 2-0 setback.

Like Bert Blyleven nearly a generation ago, Perkins is bogged down by a punchless offense thus far this season. Unfortunately, Perkins can slow down the enemy's attack but he can't jump start his team's offense.

The Twins seemingly broke out of their offensive doldrums Monday night with six runs against the Blue Jays in a losing cause.

However, against Ricky Romero and Steve Downs, the Twins squandered eight hits through the first nine innings Tuesday night by converting only two of 10 scoring opportunities.

Crede, who entered the game with just four hits in 26 at-bats, may have provided the lift the offense needed with his clutch hit in the 11th inning. He finished with two hits, one of three Twins (Denard Span had two and Justin Morneau three) with multi-hit games.

The game-winning hit for Crede was a bit of redemption. In the sixth inning, he grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

As encouraging as Perkins' performance was, another stout stint by Crain in relief bears promise the Twins have another reliable arm in the bullpen besides that of Nathan. Crain's two scoreless innings lowered his ERA to 1.93.