Minnesota loses game but wins AL Central title
Updated: 8:28 pm
Tucker Barnhart and Eugenio Suarez had a tenth three-run inning in RBI singles, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Sunday in a regular season finale that determined postseason matches.
Despite the defeat, Minnesota (36-24) won their second straight American League Central title when the Chicago White Sox lost to the Cubs. The third seeded twins will host Houston with the number 6 in the first round from Tuesday.
“We weren’t focusing on who to play against,” said Minnesota’s manager Rocco Baldelli. “There was a lot going on in that game today. It is impossible to deny it. … Usually you just worry about winning the game. Usually you just go out there and say, ‘We’re going to focus on winning. That’s the only thing that matters. ‘ And so it is probably 99 percent of the time that you enter the field. “
Cincinnati (31-29) finished seventh in the National League and will play against number 2 in Atlanta on Wednesday.
Raisel Iglesias (4-3) played 1 1/3 innings, putting Marwin Gonzalez’s RBI single in the bottom tenth.
Caleb Thielbar (2-1) started the 10th and got an out, then was replaced by Sergio Romo, who allowed Joey Votto the run-scoring hits and a bases-loaded walk while getting no outs.
Hosting Houston could be important for the Twins, a 24-7 major league home win this season. Minnesota went 101-61 last year and won the AL Central by eight games, then it was swept by the New York Yankees in the Division Series.
By the 10th inning, Minnesota could still have finished second, third, or fourth in the seeding.
“With all the new rules, we can’t really see the game on the TVs out there anymore, so we pretty much just had to look at the scoreboard,” said emergency helper Tyler Duffey. “We knew who we had to win and who had to do what. … Of course we would have liked to have won and taken it into our own hands, but a win is ultimately a win. You have a day to prepare for our next series. “
They make MPR news possible. Individual donations are behind our reporters’ clear coverage across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that offer perspective. Help keep MPR a resource that brings the Minnesotans together.