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Twins blow it in Chicago, lost 7-6 in extra innings

CHICAGO — The blown save went to Glen Perkins in his first appearance of the year.

The loss went to Sam Deduno in his first relief outing in nearly three full calendar years.

None of that would have happened, however, if Trevor Plouffe had just been able to make an accurate throw home on Adam Eaton’s chopper to third with one out in Wednesday’s ninth inning.

Instead, Plouffe’s rushed throw skipped off the dirt, allowing Dayan Viciedo to score the tying run in what became a 7-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox in 11 bone-chilling innings across four hours, 19 minutes at U.S. Cellular Field.

“It was a do-or-die play,” Plouffe said. “I was coming in, charging the ball. Vicedo was off on contact, and I didn’t make the throw. It’s baseball. I just didn’t make the throw.”

Moments earlier Perkins uncorked a wild pitch that put two runners in scoring position after three of the first four batters singled to open the ninth. A 6-4 lead already had been whittled to one on Leury Garcia’s run-scoring grounder past shortstop.

That followed broken-bat hits by pinch-hitter Paul Konerko (off the bag at third) and Viciedo on what Perkins termed “a fly ball” toward right fielder Oswaldo Arcia.

“It landed,” Perkins said. “I didn’t get a bounce. I thought I made enough good pitches. It just didn’t work out.”

Plouffe drove in three runs on a three-hit day, including the go-ahead runs that snapped a 3-3 tie in the seventh. He made a nice play to glove Eaton’s chopper on a short hop close to the foul line, but Plouffe’s off-balance throw forced catcher Kurt Suzuki to reach across his body in making an acrobatic deflection.

The ball bounced up and off plate umpire Dan Iassogna or else the game might have ended right there.

“It was probably going in the dugout,” Perkins said. “They were going to keep running. I’m glad (Iassogna) was standing there. Probably saved me from a loss, I guess.”

Perkins’ last blown save came Sept. 3 last season at Houston. He blew four saves all last season in 40 total chances but now has blown two of his past six save chances.

The all-star closer recovered to send the game to extra innings, where Deduno had one of his classic bouts of wildness after replacing rookie right-hander Michael Tonkin for the 11th.

Garcia led off with a surprise bunt single on an 0-2 pitch. Deduno struck out the next two batters, but he also balked and uncorked a wild pitch to move Garcia to third.

After an intentional walk to Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, Deduno worked the count full to Adam Dunn before another full-count curveball got away for a game-ending wild pitch. This time, the 80-mph curve stayed high and wide to the left-handed Dunn, leaving Suzuki to make a last-second leaping attempt to knock the ball down.

“What are you going to do?” Suzuki said. “It was cold. I’m sure he couldn’t feel his fingers much. I just told him, ‘It was the right pitch in the right situation. If you get into that situation again, I’m going to call a curveball again.’ It just didn’t happen our way.”

Deduno, a converted starter, was making his first relief appearance in the majors since April 9, 2011, with the San Diego Padres. He insisted the cold was no factor in his struggles.

“A tough loss,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who remains stuck on 998 career victories. “Some missed opportunities by us, some fundamental things we didn’t get done.

“It ended in a crazy way with Sammy not being able to throw the ball close enough to the plate.”

Deduno might not have been on the mound at the end had Twins starter Kevin Correia been able to go longer than six innings. Correia retired 13 of his last 15 batters but was lifted after 82 pitches when a replay review dragged on for nearly five minutes.

“Normally replay won’t take that long,” Correia said. “It’s just a weird situation early in the year with a play like that. Hopefully they’ll be able to speed it up a tad so that won’t happen again.”

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