MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The bullpen door swung open, and Glen Perkins ran out on his way to the mound he's made his ninth-inning home at Target Field.
Minnesota's closer worked a routine three-up, three-down appearance, for the most memorable save of his life. He finished the American League's 5-3 victory over the National League on Tuesday night, with Twins fans cheering him the whole time.
Not a bad way to finish an All-Star game in the place he grew up.
"Hearing how loud the fans were, it makes me want to get to the playoffs because I think it felt like a playoff atmosphere out there tonight," Perkins said, adding: "Loss of words. I am not usually at a loss of words, but I am now."
Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki came in to catch his teammate. Perkins, who grew up in Stillwater, a suburb east of Minneapolis, pitched for the University of Minnesota before being drafted by the Twins in the first round in 2004.
HOMECOMING, PART TWO: St. Louis reliever Pat Neshek, who started his career with the Twins and also grew up in a Minneapolis suburb, Brooklyn Park, had a big grin on his face as he tipped his cap to the crowd during pre-game introductions. He was even announced as a former member of the Park Center Pirates, a nod to his high school less than 10 miles north of the downtown ballpark.
Neshek took the loss, giving up two fifth-inning runs. But he wasn't going to let that ruin his experience.
"It's baseball. The balls don't bounce your way. It's a tough one, but I think everybody had a lot of fun," Neshek said.
Not that Neshek was blaming the field for any bad bounces — his brother works on the ballpark's grounds crew.
DARVISH DEBUT: Texas ace Yu Darvish finally got to pitch in the All-Star game after being selected for the last two but was left in the bullpen. The highlight of his scoreless innings was a 56 mph pitch to Troy Tulowitzki.
"That's really my strength. I wanted to pitch at least one in this game," Darvish said through an interpreter.
Quite the contrast from the 100 mph heater Aroldis Chapman threw later.
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