Twins clinch share of Central
DETROIT (AP) — Luis Arraez and Eddie Rosario powered Minnesota to another victory. Then the Twins began waiting and hoping.
They were on the cusp of an AL Central title.
Arraez and Rosario homered, and Randy Dobnak allowed one hit in six sparkling innings to lead Minnesota to a 5-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night. With the victory, the Twins clinched at least a tie for the division — and they had a chance to wrap up the title outright if Cleveland lost to the Chicago White Sox.
That game was on in the Minnesota clubhouse, where the Twins ate, played cards and waited calmly for a possible celebration.
“I hope it does happen,” said Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota’s first-year manager. “There’s no way to know the way anything’s going to play out going forward, but I think we’ve put ourselves in a great position. We’ll just wait and see.”
Minnesota (98-60) is on the verge of winning its first AL Central title since 2010 and has its highest victory total since the 1970 team also won 98 games. The Tigers (46-111) are assured of baseball’s worst record and the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.
Dobnak (2-1) allowed no scoring after an unearned run in the first. Arraez hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Drew VerHagen (4-3), who had combined with Daniel Norris to shut out the Twins until then. Nelson Cruz added an RBI single in the eighth, and Rosario’s two-run shot that inning made it 5-1.
Miguel Cabrera lumbered around from first to score the game’s first run on Jeimer Candelario’s double. The 36-year-old Cabrera, playing for the first time since Friday, was able to slide home just ahead of the relay. Cabrera had reached on an error by shortstop Jorge Polanco.
Norris went three innings for the Tigers, allowing two hits and striking out five. VerHagen relieved him and pitched 4 1/3 innings.
In addition to his home run, Rosario added a terrific catch in right field on Willi Castro’s sinking line drive in the eighth.
The ball popped in and out of Rosario’s glove, but he was able to reach up and secure the ball with his bare hand while sliding across the grass. Then he casually threw the ball back in like it was no big deal.
Dobnak is getting married Saturday in Maryland. His week is already off to a good start.
“This is definitely going to be, easily one of the wildest weeks of my life,” he said. “Just to go out there and give our team a chance to win tonight was something that I was really looking forward to do, and luckily things turned out well for us.”
Baldelli did his postgame interview with what looked like icing on his face. It was his 38th birthday.
“I got my face thrown in the cake, which is perfectly fine by me,” he said.
Twins: RP Sam Dyson is out for the season after having shoulder surgery Tuesday. … C Mitch Garver (right hip) played for the first time since Sunday and struck out four times. … 3B Marwin Gonzalez (oblique tightness) missed a second straight game.
Twins: Minnesota had not yet announced a starter for Thursday’s series finale at Detroit.
Tigers: Jordan Zimmermann (1-12) takes the mound in Detroit’s home finale.