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Twins lose as Perkins gives up game-winning homer in 9th

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Twins fans suddenly have a few concerns about closer Glen Perkins, who gave up a ninth-inning home run for the second straight game as Minnesota lost to the Pirates 8-7 Tuesday night at Target Field. It was the Twins' third loss in a row, the Star Tribune notes.

The game was tied 3-3 until the eighth inning, when Pittsburgh scored four runs to take a 7-3 lead. But the Twins came right back in the bottom of the frame to score four runs of their own and tie things up again.

Perkins came on in the ninth and retired the first batter he faced. Then Jung Ho Kang came to the plate and blasted a slider from Perkins into left-center field to score what would prove to be the winning run. It was the sixth homer of the season for Kang, who is from South Korea.

As for Perkins, since the All-Star break he has given up three home runs, blown two saves and has a 14.73 ERA, according to MLB.com. This after he pitched a brilliant first half of the season, racking up 29 saves and pitching in the All-Star game.

The ninth-inning drama was nothing compared to the eighth, when both teams scored four runs.

Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco drove in three runs on a two-out double off reliever Brian Duensing, then he came home on a single by Neil Walker to make the score 7-3.

The Twins came right back in the bottom of the inning, getting five straight hits off reliever Tony Watson. Aaron Hicks had an RBI single, Kurt Suzuki drove in two runs on a double, and Eduardo Escobar brought in the tying run on another double, according to MLB.com.

The Twins got only one runner on base in the ninth, on a walk by Miguel Sano. The game ended when Trevor Plouffe grounded into a double play.

Twins starter Mike Pelfrey pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs - two earned - on five hits and two walks.

The two teams play the final game in their short series Wednesday afternoon. Right-hander Ervin Santana will start for the Twins. Game time is 12:10 P.M.

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