10/06/06 10:47 PM ET
A's end Twins' magical season
Minnesota falls in ALDS; Radke likely throws his final pitch
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
Torii Hunter got the Twins back in the game in the fourth when he blasted a 1-0 pitch from A's starter Dan Haren into the left-field seats to make it a 4-1 game.The Twins looked to continue that comeback in the sixth as back-to-back hits by Justin Morneau and Hunter put runners at second and third with one out. Rondell White then lined a shot into shallow right field to score Morneau, and Hunter also attempted to score on the play. Bradley's throw came in time to home plate and Hunter was called out, even though it appeared that he may have slid under the tag of catcher Jason Kendall. Three errors were charged to the Twins, two of which accounted for five runs, and it was those mistakes that proved to be the real difference in the ballgame. The mostly costly of those errors came in the seventh inning, when the Twins were behind by two runs. Reliever Dennys Reyes began the inning by recording two outs, but he then walked two batters, one intentionally, before being replaced by Jesse Crain. It looked like Crain would get out of the inning by getting Jay Payton to hit a grounder to first base, but a fielding error by Morneau loaded the bases and extended the inning. Crain then walked in one run before giving up a three-run double to Scutaro that finished off any hopes of a comeback. "It's probably the three worst games we've played since I got called up in June," shortstop Jason Bartlett said. "I don't want to say we hit a wall," closer Joe Nathan said. "We went out there and busted our [tails]. We went out and made some mistakes here and there and we didn't do the little things. We're not going to go into this offseason with our heads hanging low. Instead of ending the year in celebration, the Twins' spectacular run ended with some handshakes and consoling hugs in the visiting clubhouse at McAfee Coliseum. "We all feel bad right now, but Gardy said, 'Keep your head up, because we're a young team,'" Bartlett said. "He knows how bad it feels right now, but we did have an awesome season -- especially coming back from where we were." Surely the finish wasn't what the club had envisioned, but the Twins managed to put together one of the most impressive runs to earn the American League Central championship -- a goal that seemed impossible earlier in the year. It didn't provide solace for the group on Friday, but the hope was that eventually, things would change. "Right now it doesn't mean a whole lot, but when we're sitting at home in December looking back on the year, we'll know that we did some pretty special things that nobody really expected us to do," Morneau said. "It's tough right now, but this team is the best team I've been a part of. It's not the way we wanted it to end, it but we'll keep our heads up and move on."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.