Perkins walked gingerly around the mound after the scary moment in the seventh, but passed the warmup test, pitched through the pain, and completed eight innings to guide the Minnesota Twins to a 3-1 victory Sunday that completed a three-game sweep of the sputtering Los Angeles Angels.
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"Trying to get them to hit my pitches, and they weren't able to do it," Perkins said. "That's what I try to do every time: Be efficient and get deep into a game, and right now it's working out."
Perkins (1-1) scattered four hits and walked one while striking out four, needing only 84 pitches. His performance was persuasive enough for manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson to leave him in the game after Abreu's drive bounced off the side of his left leg -- just above the knee.
Third baseman Brendan Harris picked the ball up and threw to first for the out, and after realizing he was all right Perkins struck out Torii Hunter and retired Kendry Morales on a grounder. Perkins set down 13 in a row before Erick Aybar bunted for a hit with two outs in the eighth. He left to a standing ovation after retiring Chone Figgins on a harmless roller.
"I didn't think he had much of a chance to stay in when you get hit right above the knee like that," Gardenhire said. "Pretty tough. Tough kid."
Anderson asked Perkins in the dugout during the seventh-inning stretch whether the spot where the ball hit had gone numb. Perkins thought his coach said he was done for the afternoon. No, he had one inning left, before turning it over to Joe Nathan for the ninth.
Nathan notched his third save without a hit, sealing the loss for Los Angeles and starter Shane Loux (0-1). The Angels right-hander gave up 10 hits and three runs in seven innings.
"We pay a lot of money to Joe to get saves, so it's only fair that he gets out there and gets his," Perkins said.
The Twins skimped on the run support again, but it was enough for Perkins' first win. The left-hander and lifelong Minnesotan, who still keeps a year-round home in the Minneapolis suburb of Lakeville, has pitched 24 innings in three starts and allowed only four runs, 16 hits and four walks.
He became the first Twins starter to finish eight innings in three consecutive starts since Johan Santana in June 2005. The only run against Perkins came in the second inning, when Morales hit a bouncer that second baseman Alexi Casilla stopped with a dive. Abreu came home on the grounder.
Casilla went 0-for-4 and is batting .196, but was flawless in the field and also threw from his knees to retire Morales on a grounder to end the seventh.
From the third inning on this year, Perkins has been nothing short of dominant: 18 frames, seven hits, one run.
Loux's start was a lift for the Angels, who used 11 pitchers in the first two games. But their bats were quiet for a second game in a row. On their way to a lopsided victory on Friday, they let the Twins score seven times in the eighth in an 11-9 loss and now head home after a 1-5 road trip.
"We're scuffling. We're a better team than what we're showing," Hunter said. "We've got a day off tomorrow, and we'll just try and rest up mentally and physically and come back a new ballclub Tuesday -- way better club."
Manager Mike Scioscia wasn't ready to shake up the lineup yet.
"If we have to move around some guys to jump-start it, it's obviously something we would consider," Scioscia said. "But I don't really think the batting order had anything to do with us getting four hits. We need some guys to start swinging the bats. Then we can start evaluating some things."
Hunter acknowledged the emotional effect pitcher Nick Adenhart's death last week has had on the team.
"We're still human, no matter what," Hunter said. "You try to be professional, but it's hidden inside. We're still kind of down in the clubhouse. No music is playing. Guys are kind of quiet and moseying around. You try to bring some life to the clubhouse, but it is what it is."
- LHP Daniel Davidson made his major league debut for the Angels with a scoreless eighth.
- Jose Morales picked up his first career RBI for the Twins with a two-out single in the second. He also doubled to start the fifth and scored on an infield single by Carlos Gomez, who went 3-for-3 without getting a ball beyond the diamond. Gomez also hustled to break up a possible double play in the seventh to let Harris score on Denard Span's fielder's choice to shortstop.