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Perkins’ approach always the same

USA TODAY Sports Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals Aug. 16 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS — With 33 saves in 38 opportunities this season, Minnesota Twins All-Star closer Glen Perkins is obviously most familiar entering the game with a small lead. But he said his approach doesn’t change much in those rare occasions when he’s called on to preserve a tie.

“Anytime I go out there, I try not to give up runs. Whether we have a one-run lead or a tie game or a three-run lead, it really feels the same,” said Perkins, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the Twins 6-3 extra-innings loss to Chicago on Tuesday.

It was just the fifth time this season he’s entered a game with the score knotted.

“I’m just trying to get three outs as quick as I can and not give up any damage. The harder ones are when we’re up a lot or down a lot. You have more leeway. But in a one-run game you have no leeway. A tie game is really no different.”

The practice of bringing in your closer without a lead used to be rare, Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire said. But now it’s a common league-wide practice in home games. Although he admitted that preserving a tie doesn’t get the blood pumping like trying to nail down a win.

“Ultimately in those ninth innings the numbers aren’t the same as the stress of being in a save situation,” Gardenhire said. “But when you’re at home in a tie ballgame, you’re going to put your best pitcher in so you have a chance in the bottom of the ninth to win in and if you go from there you ad lib. That’s the way most teams do it. I don’t know who started it, I just know I took over as a manager and did it.”

Still, Perkins admitted that it’s odd walking off the mound after a scoreless ninth inning at home, and knowing there’s still baseball to be played.

“The only thing that’s different is the game’s not over, but you don’t really think about that until you go out and record three outs,” he said.