Twins Get Second Swing at Game 163

Twins Get Second Swing at Game 163

A year after the terrible disappointment of losing a one-game playoff to the Chicago White Sox, the Twins are getting a do-over. For the first time in the baseball history, a team will play Game No. 163 for a second straight year.

"How the hell did we get ourselves in this again?" manager Ron Gardenhire asked with a chuckle.

"I never thought I'd play in another 163rd game," outfielder Denard Span said. "You ask anybody, not two years in a row. Not twice in your career!"

They probably shouldn't be playing game No. 163 against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Until three weeks ago, the Twins were having a difficult season. Gardenhire said it best before Sunday's game: "Everybody had written us off ... And rightly so."

The Twins couldn't put anything together for more than six months. They'd win one here, lose one there. They spent most of the summer with a sub-500 record. But that's the beauty of baseball. That's why it's head and shoulders above other sports. There are no overnight turnarounds, no instant miracles. Instead, comebacks have to be earned bit by bit, day by day. Over the past three weeks, the Twins won 16 of 20 to surprise just about everyone.

"We really screwed up some people, didn't we?" Gardenhire said with a laugh.

It became a stalking mission, and the Tigers, in first place since May 10, grew nervous. They began to play tight, to play poorly until finally picking themselves up off the floor to win Sunday and join in the playoff. And after all that's happened, a playoff seems right.

"It does," said Jason Kubel, who hit two three-run homers during Sunday's 13-4 victory over Kansas City. "This place doesn't want to go quietly. And we like to make things interesting."

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