MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins secured the American League Central Division title on Friday by defeating the Los Angeles Angels 8-6.
Alex Kirilloff contributed a home run and three RBIs to Minnesota’s cause, which narrowly held on to the lead and won the division crown for the third time in the last five seasons under coach Rocco Baldelli.
“We still have a lot to do,” said the pilot. “But we had fun tonight. We’ll go back to work tomorrow.”
Venezuelan Pablo López (11-8) pitched six innings for the Twins, allowing three runs and five hits while recording seven strikeouts. Dominican Jhoan Durán allowed one run in the ninth inning but scored the final run with the bases loaded and earned his 27th save of the season.
After the Twins blew a 3-0 lead, Kiriloff hit his 10th home run of the season to break a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning. Minnesota won for the sixth time in eight games.
Kiriloff became the 12th Twins hitter with 10 or more home runs this season, setting a club record.
Visible on the field were the lines of the American football field where a recent college game was played at Target Field. In the stands, the crowd was excited to celebrate another Twins postseason run.
It’s their 15th playoff appearance since the Washington Senators moved to town in 1961 and became the Twins.
“It means a lot,” said Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa, who is injured but hopes to be fit for the postseason. “The first one here in Minnesota feels really special. When you come to a new team, these are the goals you want to achieve.”
The playoffs certainly weren’t good for Minnesota. The Twins have lost 18 straight postseason games, including 13 to the New York Yankees.
Minnesota hasn’t won a playoff game since 2004. They won the first of the Division Series in New York 2-0, with Venezuelan Johan Santana on the mound.
Under Baldelli’s command, the Twins lost in two games to the Houston Astros in the 2020 first-round series and in three games to the Yankees in the 2019 division.
For the Angels, they didn’t beat any Latin Americans.
Colombian Donovan Solano won 1-0 for the Twins. Dominican Jorge Polanco was 2 for 4 with an RBI. The Puerto Rican Willi Castro 1:4 with two runs scored.