MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -It would have been easy for
to sit this one out.
With a new baby girl in his arms on Sunday night, and an 0-2 record with a 9.00 ERA against the
New York Yankees
this season, no one would have questioned him for accepting Minnesota's contingency offer and ceding Monday night's start
Instead, the brand new papa took the mound and delivered the best start of his young career, pitching the Twins back into
first place in the AL Central, a half-game ahead of Chicago.
Perkins allowed four hits and three walks over eight outstanding innings and light-hitting
had a two-run homer, lifting Minnesota to a 4-0 victory over the reeling Yankees.
''It's a great feeling,'' Perkins said. ''I always pitch for my family. That's why I'm playing, to help support them.
''You're tired and you're all those things, but to be able to do that a day after having a baby is really special. You get
a little bit extra when you're in a situation like that.''
Perkins (9-3) struck out four and induced two inning-ending double plays, receiving a standing ovation when he left after
''You just don't know how a young pitcher is going to react, but he looked pretty calm when he walked to the mound,'' said
, who got career win No. 600.
in the ninth to complete the first shutout of the Yankees at the Metrodome since June 24, 1996.
It's difficult to say which was more unlikely - the 25-year-old Perkins keeping the veteran Yankees hitters on ice less than
24 hours after being in the hospital with his wife for the birth of their second daughter, or Everett hitting his first homer
since May 11.
Either way, they both helped the Twins extend the Yankees' losing streak to a season-long four games, and push New York a
little further down the totem pole in the playoff race.
The Yankees (63-56) dropped five games behind Boston, which leads the wild-card standings. New York is nine games back of
first-place Tampa Bay in the AL East and is starting to get asked about possibly missing the playoffs for the first time since
''The problem is we're not winning. Not the teams in front of us,'' manager
said. ''Nothing says we can't turn things around and win eight in a row. It's happened before and I don't see why it couldn't
(7-3) gave up four runs and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings, just his second loss for the Yankees after starting the season with
Texas. His biggest mistake came to Everett, a 31-year-old shortstop with shoulder problems who was hitting .209 at the start
of the day.
His homer landed just beyond the glove of a leaping
and fell into the second row of seats in left field, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
''I pitched good enough to give us a chance to win, but with two outs I walked the third baseman and hung a pitch,'' Ponson
said. ''I'm not too happy with it.''
Perkins took over from there.
He wasn't even sure he was going to be able to make the start when he hopped a 7 a.m. flight from Kansas City on Sunday to
be with his wife, Alisha.
Lyla Cynthia Perkins was born about 6 p.m. on Sunday in St. Paul.
''Playing major league baseball, playing against the Yankees, it doesn't matter what kind of sleep you get,'' he said. ''There's
plenty of adrenaline and I definitely used that to my advantage tonight.''
The Yankees managed only one runner past first base, when
advanced to third after Perkins threw a pickoff attempt past first baseman
for a second-inning error.
But the lefty settled down and got
to ground into a double play, ending New York's only threat of the night.
''It's frustrating,'' said
, who went 0-for-4. ''We've got to get rolling offensively. That's the bottom line. We have to turn things around quick.''
Notes: Yankees CF
had the night off. Girardi said Damon will play in the final two games of the series. ... Nathan announced a gift of $500,000
to his alma mater, Stony Brook University in New York, to build a new baseball field that will be called Joe Nathan Field.