Royals
Twins
4 - 2 Final
  for this game

Royals keep winning, prevent Twins from clearing up playoff picture

Sep 28, 2008 - 1:42 AM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- It was reality check time in the Minnesota Twins' clubhouse following their 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals at the Metrodome on Saturday.

Despite all the bad vibes that come from losing a second straight game at home to the Royals - the hottest team in baseball with 13 wins in their last 15 games - a victory on Sunday by the Twins would mean that the Chicago White Sox would need some extra work to clinch the American League Central.

By ending the season with a win, Minnesota would force Chicago to play the Detroit Tigers in a makeup game on Monday for a spot in the playoffs. If that game leaves the AL Central still deadlocked, as it was following Minnesota's loss on Saturday, then the teams will determine a division champion with a one-game playoff in Chicago.

Also, a win paired with two more losses by the White Sox losses would mean a fifth AL Central title in the last seven years for the Twins.

But all of those scenarios only come into play with a Minnesota win on Sunday. A loss coupled with Chicago victories Saturday and Sunday would mean an end the Minnesota's remarkable season.

"It doesn't get any bigger than tomorrow," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If we win we'll either be a half-game up or a half-game behind, depends on (the White Sox). We'd like to win tomorrow and force (Chicago) to have to at least play another ballgame and see what happens."

The Twins could have put the pressure on the White Sox after sweeping them in the Metrodome before the final weekend of the season. Instead, Minnesota was blown out on Friday and then left 11 runners on base and hit into four double-plays on Saturday.

Kansas City starter Gil Meche (14-11) pitched six-plus innings for his third straight victory and fourth in his last five outings, allowing just two runs - one earned - and seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Twins reliever Matt Guerrier (6-9) took the loss, allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning. However, he wasn't on the mound when Ryan Shealy's two-run bloop single in the seventh inning put the Royals ahead for good.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead through three innings, getting an RBI double from Brandon Harris in the second and a sacrifice fly from Joe Mauer in the third.

Starter Glen Perkins held the lead with just one run and four hits allowed with four strikeouts in five innings after going 0-3 with a 9.42 ERA in his previous four starts. Perkins had his last turn in the rotation skipped due to his struggles during the critical series against the White Sox.

With Boof Bonser on in relief in the sixth, the Royals suddenly went to an offensive style that is usually seen from the Twins.

Jose Guillen and Shealy both singled to put runners on first and second, and Mark Teahen followed with a chopper up the middle. The ball appeared destined for second baseman Alexi Casilla's glove and a sure double play, but Bonser leaped off the mound and deflected the ball into right field, allowing a run to score.

After a single by Billy Butler loaded the bases, Craig Breslow and Guerrier combined to get out of the inning with no further damage.

Yet, Mike Aviles and Alberto Callaspo both singled off Guerrier to start the seventh, moved up a base each on a wild pitch when Jesse Crain struck out Guillen, then scored when Shealy's bloop down the right field line tipped of the glove of a diving first baseman Justin Morneau.

"We got a couple seeing-eye hits, got a little lucky," Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said. "We squared a few balls up as well and missed some opportunities, too."

Morneau had a chance to get at the Royals in the bottom half of the inning when the Twins loaded the bases on an error and two walks, but the former AL MVP hit the first pitch he saw from reliever John Bale into an inning-ending double play.

Minnesota left two more runners on base in the eighth and closer Joakim Soria worked around a pair of walks in the ninth for his 42nd save in 45 chances this season.

"I've got to take my hat off to those guys, they are playing hard over there," Twins right fielder Denard Span said. "They didn't only have choppers. Those guys can swing it and put the ball in the gap. Between the two days those guys have almost 30 hits (28) and any time a team can do that it's pretty tough to win games."

The solemn Minnesota players almost to a man said they wouldn't watch Chicago's game on Saturday against the Cleveland Indians because regardless of the outcome, a win on Sunday is almost essential for their playoff hopes.

The Twins do have thing working in their favor, as staff veteran Scott Baker (10-4) is slated to pitch off his solid outing in the first game of the White Sox series.

"It's going to be exciting, I know that much," Baker said. "I'm ready. Obviously we have to see where we're at tomorrow and what type of situation we're in. If we have a chance to clinch, that would be great."








  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    KANSAS CITY (4) AT MINNESOTA (2) - HOW THEY SCORED
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    MINNESOTA 2ND: J Kubel doubled to deep left. D Young grounded out to
    first, J Kubel to third. B Harris doubled to deep center, J Kubel scored.
    N Punto singled to left, B Harris to third. C Gomez grounded into double play,
    shortstop to sec

    Sep 27 7:42 PM
  • hkychick10 :D

    Royals 4, Twins 2  Bot 9, 0 OutsSep 27 7:30 PM
  • hkychick10 bottom 9, this is it!

    Royals 4, Twins 2  Bot 9, 0 OutsSep 27 7:17 PM
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    Royals 4, Twins 2  Top 8, 0 OutsSep 27 6:37 PM
  • hkychick10 Go royals! Now all i need is for the sox to win tonight (if the royals hold on)

    Royals 4, Twins 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 27 6:28 PM
  • hkychick10 Go royals! Now all i need is for the sox to win tonight (if the royals hold on)

    Royals 4, Twins 2  Top 7, 0 OutsSep 27 6:26 PM
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  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - PITCHING CHANGE
    MIN: CRAIG BRESLOW (0-2, 1.93) IN THE 6TH
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B BUTLER ON FIRST, M TEAHEN ON SECOND, R
    SHEALY ON THIRD, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 2, MINNESOTA 2
    DUE UP FOR KANSASCITY: A GORDON (.260, 0-FOR-2)

    Royals 2, Twins 2  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 27 5:41 PM
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    Royals 2, Twins 2  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 27 5:41 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY MIKE AVILES SCORED BILLY BUTLER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M MAIER ON FIRST, J BUCK ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: A CALLASPO (.311, 0-FOR-2)

    Royals 1, Twins 2  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 27 5:23 PM
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