MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have battled through unforeseen injuries, overcome plenty of deficits and found a way to battle back from whatever challenge has been presented to them throughout the 2010 season.So perhaps it was fitting on Tuesday night that the win that clinched the Twins' sixth American League Central title in the last nine years came as a result of a late-inning comeback. Denard Span hit an RBI single that scored the go-ahead run in a four-run eighth inning that rallied the Twins to a 6-4 victory over the Indians and reduced the club's magic number to one. The White Sox later lost, 7-2, to the A's to give Minnesota the title. "I think tonight was definitely a description of how the whole season has been for us," Span said. "Just being resilient and playing all nine innings.
"We started off hot at the beginning of the season and went through a little funk, but we came out after the All-Star break, and since then we've pretty much took care of business and did what we're supposed to do."The night had all the makings of being a special one at Target Field. Entering Tuesday with their magic number sitting at two, the Twins needed a victory and a White Sox loss to celebrate their second straight division title. Ron Gardenhire was chasing his 800th career win as a manager, and the team celebrated reaching three million fans at home this season for only the second time in club history. But while the setup was there for a memorable night for all those in attendance, the Twins found themselves trailing, 4-2, at the start of the eighth inning as the Indians tried to prevent the club from having the opportunity to clinch. Then came the rally that the Twins have come to almost expect this season. Indians right-hander Justin Masterson gave up three hits to start the eighth, which included a leadoff single by Jim Thome to left field. With the Indians having a shift on for the slugger, Thome poked one into the opposite field to get the rally started. Delmon Young's RBI double scored pinch-runner Trevor Plouffe from first and put the tying run at second base.
|"We keep fighting, we're never out of the ballgame. These guys believe in each other and it showed again tonight. We came in and got a big win."|
|-- Ron Gardenhire|
That's when the champagne started to flow."It's just the first stepping stone, the milestone we've been trying to reach," Hudson said.
"We still have a lot of baseball left. We clinched tonight -- hats go off, we've had a lot of fun -- but the real season starts in [two] weeks."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.