Perkins' perfect record ends with blown save

Twins closer serves up game-tying run, forcing extra innings

Perkins' perfect record ends with blown save

OAKLAND -- After starting out the year 28-for-28 in save opportunities, Twins closer Glen Perkins was bound to eventually blow a save.

That finally happened Saturday night in a rough way, as the Twins rallied for two runs to take the lead in the ninth against the A's, only to see Perkins give up the game-tying run on a two-out bloop single from Jake Smolinski. Reliever Casey Fien then quickly gave up a walk-off RBI single to Stephen Vogt in the 10th after Billy Burns doubled and stole third to hand the Twins a 3-2 loss.

It's hard to fault Perkins for the loss, despite failing to protect the lead, as Brett Lawrie reached on a two-out infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored the tying run on Smolinski's blooper to shallow left.

"I always said if I get beat, I want them to hit a ball in the gap or hit a home run," Perkins said. "But I put myself in that spot and I didn't work my way out this time. It was bound to happen. I've said all along I'm going to blow a save. I'm going to blow more than one. I've got to be able to bounce back. I'd love nothing more than to get the ball tomorrow and win a series."

Perkins had two strikes on Lawrie and threw him a slider, but left it just up enough that he was able to hit a grounder to shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who made a diving play but couldn't quite get Lawrie at first. Lawrie then advanced to second on the wild pitch from Perkins, who said he threw it too far down in the zone for catcher Kurt Suzuki.

"I don't expect him to block that," Perkins said. "There's just not enough time for him to do anything."

Fien relieved Perkins in the 10th and served up a leadoff double to Burns, who promptly stole third. It was a close play, but Twins manager Paul Molitor said he didn't get any indication it would be overturned so he didn't challenge it.

"We couldn't contain them," Molitor said. "Casey had a leadoff double and the stolen base was disappointing, because we saw him bluff on the first pitch like he wanted to go, and so I tried to get their attention to try to slow him down, but it was a big play."

It spoiled a strong outing from Phil Hughes and a two-run ninth that saw Joe Mauer connect on a game-tying RBI double off closer Tyler Clippard, setting up Miguel Sano for a go-ahead sacrifice fly. But while the Twins were a strike away from the win in the ninth, they saw their four-game win streak end in heartbreak.

"You get a chance to have a nice comeback and you have that feeling when you have two outs and two strikes there," Molitor said. "But things just kind of went haywire for us."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for "Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.