Twins claim second straight AL Central title, face Houston in playoffs
The Minnesota Twins clinched the American League Central title for the second straight year after the Chicago White Sox fell to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Click the video box on this page to see Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and Twins team president Dave St. Peter discuss the team’s back-to-back American League Central Championships
At the time of clinching the division, the Twins were in extra innings against the Cincinnati Reds. The Twins ended up losing 5-3, which landed them at the No. 3 seed. The No. 6 Houston Astros — who finished the season with a losing record of 29-31 — will head to Minneapolis for a best-of-three series.
TWINS FALL TO REDS 5-3 IN SEASON FINALE
Tucker Barnhart and Eugenio Suárez had RBI singles a three-run 10th inning, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3 Sunday in a regular-season finale that determined postseason matchups.
Cincinnati (31-29) became the National League’s seventh seed and will play No. 2 Atlanta in the first round starting Wednesday.
Raisel Iglesias (4-3) pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing Marwin Gonzalez’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th..
Caleb Thielbar (2-1) started the 10th and got one out, then was replaced by Sergio Romo, who allowed the run-scoring hits and a bases-loaded walk to Joey Votte while failing to get any outs.
Cincinnati had high expectations after adding Nicholas Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama in the offseason and having Trevor Bauer from the start. The Reds were 15-21 after losing 16-2 to the Cardinals on Sept. 1. They went 16-8 to finish the regular season and earn a playoff spot for the first time since 2013.
Hosting Houston could be important for the Twins (36-24), a major league-best 24-7 at home this season. Minnesota went 101-61 last year and won the AL Central by eight games, then was swept by the New York Yankees in the Division Series.
Reds starter Sonny Gray allowed two runs, two hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. Minnesota’s Rich Hill gave up one run, two hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings.
Gray balked in the first run in the fifth, rushing a throw him when Jake Cave took off from third.
Cincinnati tied the score in the sixth when Eugenio Suárez had an RBI double, but Eddie Rosario’s sacrifice fly gave the Twins a 2-1 lead in the bottom half. Freddy Galvis’ run-scoring single retied the score in the seventh.
Twins: 3B Josh Donaldson (right calf cram) and CF Byron Buxton (hit on the helmet by a pitch on Friday) each missed his second straight game. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Buxton has mild concussion symptoms and is improving. Baldelli is hopeful Buxton will be ready for the first game of the playoffs. Donaldson has a history of calf ailments and missed 30 games earlier this season with a strain of the same calf.
Reds: Bauer (5-4, 1.73 ERA) starts Wednesday. He has allowed five earned runs in his last five starts and 35 innings. Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.21) will start the second game and Gray the third.
Twins: Kenta Maeda (6-1, 2.70) starts Tuesday and is to be followed by José Berríos (5-4, 4.00) and Michael Pineda (2-0, 3.38).