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MINNEAPOLIS --- The Minnesota Twins have not had much to celebrate in recent seasons.

Once the model low-revenue franchise when it won six American League Central titles in a nine-year span from 2002-10, the Twins lost at least 96 games in each of the last three seasons. They are 44-50 this year and 10 ½ games off the Detroit Tigers' pace in the division race.

BOX SCORE: AL 5, NL 3

However, it was like that golden era returned Tuesday night at Target Field when the American League beat the National League 5-3 in the All-Star Game.

The crowd of 41,048 was on its feet and cheering loudly when Twins closer and local product Glen Perkins took the mound in the top of the ninth inning to protect the AL's two-run lead. He retired the side in order on nine pitches to get the save.

"I wasn't fighting back tears but it was an overwhelming feeling to hear the crowd," Perkins said. "Kind of the buildup as I walked out of the pen and then it got louder and louder, and then I was jogging in."

The crowd only got louder as Perkins got closer to recording the final out and began chanting his name.

He started the inning by getting Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero to fly out then struck out Pittsburgh Pirates utility player Josh Harrison. Perkins then finished it off by inducing Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon to ground out to second base.

"Those are the things that don't happen during the regular season," Perkins said. "It was a moment where you realize why you play the game and what makes the game so fun --- it's the fans in the stands."

Perkins used to be one of those fans in the stands when the Twins played their games at the Metrodome, which has since been imploded to make room for construction of a new stadium for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

Perkins was born in St. Paul, grew up in Stillwater and lives in Lakeville. He also starred at the University of Minnesota and has spent his entire professional career in the Twins' organization since they choose him in the first round of the 2004 amateur draft. He made his major league debut two years later.

"Coming in here and hearing the reception, hearing how loud the fans were, it makes me want to get to the playoffs because it felt like a playoff atmosphere out there," Perkins said.

GALLERY: ALL-STAR GAME

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