The bad news for the Twins is that assuming the Boston Red Sox hang onto their lead in the American League East division, they will have to travel to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Card game. Ervin Santana, who tuned up for Tuesday with five shutout innings Thursday, is the solid starter.
The first run of the game came in the top of the first as the Twins' Jorge Polanco would drive in Brian Dozier with an RBI groundout.
Keeping the double play alive is a little thing. "We're trying to navigate through some things, but also trying to win". If the Twins take 10 pitchers, they already have a flawless fit for position players.
The excitement is easy to see on the faces of Twins fans as this is the first time in seven years the Twins are even in this position.
"It's a good vibe in the clubhouse, and it's been like that all year long", Mauer said. We knew what we had in here. He's a ideal complement to (ace) Corey (Kluber), back-to-back guys that just have a plan, that know what they want to do and get it done. "It's been a special year all the way around". After the Twins clinched the second American League wild card spot late Wednesday night, then had a champagne soaked celebration, Molitor could go with his post-hubris lineup. Dramatic turnarounds are rare but given the young offensive core it was somewhat unpredictable about how they would mature and at what rate and how fast.
Still, it is hard to imagine them going into the postseason in a better place mentally. His last start against Minnesota came on August 17, a 9-3 victory in which he pitched five innings, giving up one run on five hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. Their bats came alive, their pitching held up and Molitor squeezed everything he could out of a young lineup that lacks star power but is deep and risky.
"Danny looked great. That was really, really encouraging", Indians manager Terry Francona said. He allowed one earned run on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk over 5 2/3 innings in an 11-4 win at Seattle his last outing.
The Twins, who lost 4-2 to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, are 83-75 on the season, assured of finishing ahead of the Halos, now 78-80.
The Indians scored again in the fourth inning, which began with consecutive singles by Encarnacion and Santana, putting runners at first and second with no outs.
The Indians improved to 7-1 against the Twins when scoring first. The Indians lost for just the third time in 32 games.