8/27/2014 8:20 P.M. ET
Burton enjoys short stint as Twins' setup man
Right-hander fires scoreless eighth against KC with Fien getting a night off
By Jackson Alexander / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Jared Burton returned to a familiar role, one that's preferable to him, on Tuesday night as the Twins' setup man.
Burton tossed a scoreless eighth to preserve a one-run lead in Minnesota's eventual 2-1 walk-off loss to the Royals.
"I think that's when I'm at my best, to be honest with you," said Burton, who struck out a pair and allowed zero baserunners.
Burton set up closer Glen Perkins on a number of occasions early in the season. But of his last 24 appearances, Tuesday was just his second in the eighth inning with his team in a save situation. Casey Fien normally sets up Perkins, but a laborious eighth inning on Sunday made Fien unavailable.
"It's a role I'm used to, but Casey's been throwing the ball so good all year, it's just kind of went into his hands," Burton said. "I struggled early on, and then I started throwing the ball better, but [Casey's] been pretty consistent all year."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Fien would be available if needed on Wednesday. Although, Burton still welcomes any opportunities to be the setup man in the future.
"Of course, any time you can have a significant role it's always a plus," Burton said.
Perkins yields first homer to a lefty on slider
KANSAS CITY -- Tuesday night was a peculiar one for Glen Perkins.
First, the Twins' closer, who's saved games at a superb 84 percent in his career, blew a rare one in the team's 2-1 loss to the Royals. Second, he lost the game via walk-off for only the second time ever. And third, the eight-year veteran allowed a home run to a left-handed hitter (Alex Gordon) on his slider for the first time in the Majors, according to BrooksBaseball.com.
"Perk's been as good as they get, just didn't work out, they put a nice swing on it, end up [with] a big walk-off for them," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after the loss.
On Sept. 10, 2011, Brandon Inge broke a 2-2 tie with a walk-off home run off Perkins, a moment the left-hander remembered and brought up after Tuesday's loss.
Gordon delivered the blow on Tuesday, a two-run shot that soared into the right-field bleachers and erased a 1-0 deficit.
It was slider No. 556 Perkins had thrown to left-handers in his career, none of the previous 555 resulted in a home run.
Rochester's season to dictate Twins' callups
KANSAS CITY -- On Monday, the Twins can increase their roster size from 25 to 40. But Triple-A Rochester's postseason push has complicated who will be joining, and when they'll be joining, the Major League club.
The Red Wings, who have six games left on their schedule, enter a two-game set with the Syracuse Chiefs beginning on Wednesday. Rochester remains 4 1/2 games behind the Chiefs in the International League North, and it trails the Pawtucket Red Sox by just two games for the Wild Card.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hinted that if the Red Wings make the postseason, any potential callups could wait until after the Triple-A club's season ends.
"If we were in a pennant race, it does make a difference, being able to get players here in a pennant race to help us win games, but we're not really in a pennant race and [letting] them finish up their season, try to get in the playoffs is very important for them, Rochester has earned that," Gardenhire said before Wednesday's game against the Royals.
"And the players that are there would probably like to get in the playoffs, so I think [general manager] Terry [Ryan] and the guys do the right thing there and let them have their shot at it. You know what? Those guys have worked very hard to try to get to the playoffs, you never want to take it away from them."
Gardenhire said he expected Ryan to observe three more Rochester games before "he'll come back with a plan."
• Mitch Garver, a catcher for Class A Cedar Rapids, earned a spot on the 2014 Midwest League postseason All-Star team. Garver, a ninth-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, is batting .299 (124-for-415) with 15 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.