Perkins blows lead, Twins lose to Braves 5-4

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 22, 2013 at 12:29 am •  Published: May 22, 2013

ATLANTA (AP) — The Minnesota Twins were one out away from ending their longest losing streak of the season.

Glen Perkins couldn't finish the job.

Perkins surrendered a pinch-hit homer to Evan Gattis with two outs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings, and the Atlanta Braves pulled out a 5-4 win in the 10th on Freddie Freeman's run-scoring blooper to hand the Twins their seventh straight loss Tuesday night.

"We've been struggling," Perkins said. "The guys fought back and got a lead. Just bad timing."

The Twins overcame a 3-2 deficit in the eighth, pushing ahead on back-to-back, RBI singles by Trevor Plouffe and Ryan Doumit off a depleted Atlanta bullpen.

"We made a nice comeback to get back in the game," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Our bullpen did just a super job of shutting everything down."

Until the end, that is.

"Unfortunately," added Gardenhire, "a tough one."

Not for the first-place Braves, who pulled out their fifth straight victory thanks to Gattis. He came through with his third pinch-hit homer of the season — and second in four days.

"I'm kind of getting used to it," he said with a shrug.

His teammates were left shaking their heads.

"It's awesome to see," said Braves starter Tim Hudson, who worked five solid innings despite a lengthy rain delay. "People around the league are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to make sure he doesn't put the ball in the seats."

Freeman dumped a two-out single into short right field off Brian Duensing (0-1) to bring home Jason Heyward with the winning run.

"It wasn't the prettiest swing," Freeman said, "but it got the job done."

Gattis, who surprisingly made the team as a non-roster player, has been a key contributor all season. He was NL rookie of the month in April, getting plenty of starts while the Braves battled a string of injuries. Now, with all the regulars healthy, he's showing what he can do off the bench. It was his ninth homer of the season, four of which have been tying or go-ahead shots in the eighth inning or later.

"I don't know how to explain it," Freeman said. "It's incomprehensible."

Gattis was looking for a pinch over the inside part of the plate.

He got just what he was looking for — an 0-1 slider from Perkins — sending a drive deep into the left-field seats.

"I think he guessed right," Perkins said. "You've got to make good pitches. That guy, he's up there to do one thing, and he did it."

Duensing got the first two hitters in the 10th, but Heyward doubled off the wall in left-center. Justin Upton was intentionally walked before Freeman came through on a 3-2 pitch for his second RBI of the game.

Craig Kimbrel (1-1) worked a scoreless 10th for the win.

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