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Perkins closes out All-Star game, right at home

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota -- 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 2

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.

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 Jeter, Trout lead AL over NL 5-3 in All-Stars 
American League All-Star Glen Perkins #15, of the Minnesota Twins, pitches against the National League All-Stars in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Tuesday, July 15. (AFP)

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