AL Central Race Decided in 12

No Justin Morneau? No problem…not for the Twins anyway. The resurgent (and resiliant) Minnesota Twins fought off a late 2-run defecit at the hands of the Tigers on Tuesday night, much to the delight of the raucous bunch at the Metrodome, who did not have to witness a sad conclusion to the stadium’s baseball history.

The Metrodome isn’t dead yet thanks to late inning heroics from several players. Michael Cuddyer has definitely picked up the slack since Justin Morneau’s season was officially over. Cuddyer belted a sixth inning home run to cut the Tigers lead to one. An inning later, Orlando Cabrera smacked a two-run shot over the left field wall to give the Twins a 4-3 lead, only to be relinquished Matt Guerrier, who served up a solo homer to Magglio Ordonez in the 8th.

Joe Nathan escaped a huge jam in the 9th when a line drive became a double play with Curtis Granderson straying too far from the first base bag.

After Brandon Inge drove in a run in the top of the 10th, Ryan Raburn failed to play the short hop, turning a Michael Cuddyer bloop-single into a triple. Matt Torbert drove in Cuddyer with a single to tie the game. Later that inning, Alexi Casilla was thrown out by Raburn at the plate trying to score the winning run after coming too far off third, resulting in a time-consuming tag-up, on a Nick Punto line drive to left.

In the 12th inning, a Bobby Keppel pitch appeared to graze Brandon Inge’s jersey…with the bases loaded, mind you. Instead, Randy Marsh called a ball, and ruined a chance for Detroit to take the lead.

During the bottom half of the frame, Alexi Casilla hitting a seeing-eye single through the right side of the infield scoring the ultra-fast Carlos Gomez, causing the record-crowd of 54,088 to erupt in Minneapolis.

This win undoubtedly eases the pain of last year’s 1-0 loss to Chicago in the Windy City during a one-game playoff for the division championship. Joe Mauer called it, “one of the best games I’ll ever play in.” Orlando Cabrera: “This is the most unbelievable game I’ve played or seen.” That’s not bad coming from a guy with a ring.

The Twins will face the New York Yankees in the ALDS tonight, featuring former-Indian CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.37 ERA) and Brian Duensing (5-2, 3.64 ERA).

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