6/18/2014 5:40 P.M. ET
Fien falters as fill-in closer for ailing Perkins
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
BOSTON -- After Chris Parmelee delivered a go-ahead homer in the 10th inning off Red Sox closer Koji Uehara to give the Twins the lead Wednesday afternoon, it was assumed closer Glen Perkins would come in to try to preserve the win for Minnesota.
But Perkins felt stiffness in his lower back Tuesday and tried to play catch before Wednesday's game, but told manager Ron Gardenhire he was unavailable. So Gardenhire went with Casey Fien, who served up back-to-back blasts to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to hand the Twins a 2-1 loss and their fifth straight defeat.
"I don't think anyone in this clubhouse feels worse than I do," Perkins said. "Those are my three outs. It didn't work out today and that's frustrating. That's a tough pill for me to swallow, not being out there for the team."
Perkins said he hopes to be available when the Twins return home Thursday against the White Sox at Target Field. He said he'd dealt with a similar issue before, but it was never this bad.
"It was too stiff to play, so it's frustrating," Perkins said. "But I'm going to the park [Thursday] expecting to play. We'll see how it feels."
Fien entered with a 2.17 ERA in 31 appearances, but couldn't convert his second career save. He didn't make excuses and said he knew before the game there was a chance he'd have to close with Perkins out.
"It's the worst feeling in the world," Fien said. "When you have the pitching staff that threw like that and they ask me to come up big, and we come out with the 'L,' it's not a good feeling."
Gibson runs scoreless-innings streak to 22
BOSTON -- Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson threw seven shutout innings for a third straight outing on Wednesday afternoon in Minnesota's 2-1 loss in 10 innings the Red Sox, running his scoreless streak to 22 innings in the process.
It's the third-longest streak without giving up a run by a starting pitcher in Twins history, as former American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana had a 33-innings scoreless streak in '04, and left-hander Francisco Liriano went 23 innings without giving up a run in '10.
The club record for a scoreless streak by any Twins pitcher is 36 innings by reliever J.C. Romero in '04. It's also the third-longest active streak in the Majors behind San Francisco's Jean Machi (25) and Philadelphia's Cole Hamels (23).
"I'm just executing pitches," Gibson said. "I'm not doing anything different. I'm definitely looking at scouting reports and who I'm facing. But it comes down to executing no matter who is out there."
Gibson had perhaps his best outing of his career Wednesday in his first start at Fenway Park. The right-hander gave up just one hit and established a career-high with eight strikeouts. His previous high was five strikeouts set once last year and matched once this season.
"I think with my stuff and the combination of executing pitches, it was probably as good as I've felt and as good as I've executed in my 30 or so games up here," Gibson said.
But Gibson was stuck with a no-decision, as the Twins couldn't score for him. He remains 6-5, but lowered his ERA to 3.25 in 14 starts.
His streak started with a scoreless sixth inning against the Brewers on June 2 before he tossed seven scoreless frames against the Astros on June 7, and seven more shutout innings against the Tigers last Friday.
Nunez declares himself ready to return to lineup
BOSTON -- Twins infielder Eduardo Nunez ran the bases and took ground balls at third base without any issues before Wednesday's game and said he's ready to make his return.
Nunez, who suffered a hamstring strain in Saturday's game, tested it out under the watchful eyes of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, assistant trainer Tony Leo and strength and conditioning coordinator Perry Castellano before Wednesday's game at Fenway Park.
Nunez was held out of the lineup for a fourth straight game, but told Gardenhire he believes he'll be ready to start again Thursday, when the Twins return home to play the White Sox.
There's a chance the Twins will remain cautious with Nunez, as it didn't appear he was running full speed in his baserunning drills from first to third. But he's expected to avoid the 15-day disabled list.
Florimon, Fryer make rare starts
BOSTON -- The Twins shuffled their lineup for the series finale against the Red Sox on Wednesday, as Pedro Florimon made his first start at shortstop since May 7, while Eric Fryer made his second start behind the plate this season.
Florimon was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Sunday with third baseman Trevor Plouffe going on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left rib. Florimon, who began the year as the club's starting shortstop, was optioned to Rochester on May 8 after struggling offensively.
He hit just .230/.291/.330 with two homers, four doubles and five RBIs in 33 games at Triple-A, but he was swinging better recently, hitting .274 over his final 19 games before getting called up.
"It feels good to be back here again," Florimon said. "When I went down, I was a little frustrated. I wasn't doing good in the beginning, but I've been doing better. I feel more comfortable at the plate."
Fryer, meanwhile, also started at catcher Saturday and will continue to spell regular Kurt Suzuki when he needs a day off. He worked plenty with Wednesday's starter, right-hander Kyle Gibson, in Triple-A last year and is regarded as a solid receiver behind the plate.
"I don't worry with Fry," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's caught these guys and is a good receiver. He handles the ballgame really well. I don't worry about putting him in there. It's the right thing to do with Suzuki playing every day."
• The Twins officially granted outfielder Jason Kubel his release after he was designated for assignment June 8. Kubel cleared waivers and is free to sign with any club.
• The Twins are making progress on reaching an agreement with right-hander Nick Burdi, who was taken by the Twins in the second round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. "We don't anticipate any issues," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
• Right-hander Yohan Pino will be the oldest starting pitcher to make his Major League debut in franchise history when he takes the mound for the Twins on Thursday, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Pino will be 30 years and 175 days old. The last pitcher in Twins franchise history over the age of 30 to make his debut as a starting pitcher was Jug Thesenga for the Senators at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 1, 1944. Thesenga was 30 years and 127 days old.
• The Twins are scheduled to hold their annual open tryout at Siebert Field at the University of Minnesota on Sunday. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. CT and is open to any high school graduate, junior in college or anyone at least 21 years old. Right-hander Mark Hamburger was the last player signed from the tryout to make the Majors.