(Sports Network) - Glen Perkins finds himself in a tough spot for his first major league appearance in more than a year, with the Minnesota Twins hurler called into duty to pitch his team's second test of a critical three-game series with the Chicago White Sox from U.S. Cellular Field.
This was supposed to be Kevin Slowey's turn in the Minnesota rotation, but the right-hander will be skipped a start after experiencing soreness in his elbow following the Twins' 8-6 win at Tampa Bay last Thursday. So the club will instead pin its hopes on Perkins, a former first-round draft choice who's trying to get a once-promising career back on track.
Perkins was impressive as a rookie in 2008, compiling a 12-4 record in 26 starts to help the Twins become within an eyelash of capturing that year's American League Central title. He struggled during an injury-plagued campaign last season, however, and was sent to the minors in early August after going 6-7 with a lackluster 5.89 ERA in 18 games (17 starts).
The 27-year-old has also endured a rough 2010 season, all of which has been spent at Triple-A Rochester. Perkins is just 4-9 with a subpar 4.08 ERA in 23 starts with the Red Wings, although he's registered a much-improved 3-1 mark and a 2.70 ERA through his last seven assignments and comes into tonight's tilt having tossed 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball this past Friday.
Perkins owns a 2-1 record with a 5.24 ERA over seven career games against the White Sox, four of which have come in a starting role. In his only previous start at U.S. Cellular Field, the Minnesota native allowed three runs in a 5 1/3-inning no-decision on June 9, 2008.
The left-hander will be trying to keep the Twins atop the AL Central standings in his first major league outing since August 8, 2009. Minnesota took a one- game edge on the White Sox for the top spot by virtue of Tuesday's 12-6 triumph in which the club belted a season-high five home runs.
Jim Thome, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, J.J. Hardy and Jason Kubel all went deep for Minnesota, with Cuddyer finishing with a team-high four RBI on the night. Mauer went 3-for-5 with three RBI and Kubel knocked in two runs while scoring four times in the win, the 13th in the last 16 games for the Twins.
Scott Baker (10-9) served up a three-run homer to Chicago's Carlos Quentin in the bottom of the second, but was effective for the remainder of his six- inning stint to nab the win. The right-hander gave up five runs in all, four of which were earned, on eight hits.
White Sox starter Freddy Garcia (10-5) struggled badly, surrendering six runs and eight hits -- three of which were homers -- before exiting after only 2 1/3 innings.
"Freddy has been pitching well, but I think tonight, from the start, he left some balls around the plate and they got some good cuts," said Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen afterward.
Quentin knocked in four runs total for Chicago, which has now dropped four of its last five games, while Paul Konerko went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
"We don't give it much thought," said Konerko about falling out of first place. "It only matters where you are at the end of the year after the last game is played -- there is still a long way to go."
The White Sox will try to bounce back tonight behind 11-game winner John Danks, who's held the opposition to one run or less in three of his last four starts. One of those times took place in Baltimore this past Friday, with the left-hander yielding one run and no walks in seven innings despite not receiving a decision in his team's 2-1 loss.
Danks is 11-8 with a respectable 3.30 ERA in 22 starts this year and has usually pitched well at U.S. Cellular Field, where the steady lefty has posted a 2.87 ERA along with a 6-5 record in 12 appearances.
The 25-year-old is just 5-6 with a 5.28 ERA in 16 career encounters with Minnesota, but did beat the Twins in Minneapolis on July 15. Danks did allow six runs in six innings during that game, but got plenty of offensive support in an 8-7 verdict.
Tuesday's win was Minnesota's seventh in its 10 meetings with Chicago thus far in 2010. The Twins have also won in seven of their last eight trips to U.S. Cellular Field.