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Resilient Twins First Into MLB Playoffs

The Minnesota Twins have become the first team to clinch a spot in the Major League Baseball post-season playoffs.
On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Twins rallied for a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians, and not long afterward they were able to celebrate.

They watched the broadcast of the second-place Chicago White Sox losing their game to Oakland, 7-2, which secured Minnesota the division title. It was their second straight American League Central Division crown and sixth in the last nine seasons.

Center fielder Denard Span, whose hit against Cleveland drove in a run that started a key four-run eighth inning rally, was ecstatic about Minnesota's achievement.

"This is a dream come true man," said Denard Span. "This is my second full season in the major leagues. To get a chance to celebrate like this with my teammates is unbelievable."

The Twins entered spring training with high expectations but suffered many injuries that led to a mediocre 46-42 start. However, the team remained tough and has won 44 of the 62 games since the All-Star break, good for a 0.714 winning percentage.

At 91-60, the Twins have a chance to clinch home-field advantage for two playoff rounds, depending on how the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays finish in the American League East.

Tuesday's game also marked the 800th career victory for Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire.

"You start out in spring training and you battle your tail off and it culminates in something like this," said Ron Gardenhire. "It's pretty exciting watching these guys kind of let it all out."

With the Division Playoff Series not starting until October 6 the Twins have the luxury of resting some players. This includes Joe Mauer, the reigning AL Most Valuable Player, who is nursing a sore left knee that is expected to keep him sidelined only a few days.

Mauer says the team is already looking forward to the playoffs.

"Well it's exciting and I'll celebrate tonight and try to get ourselves ready for the post-season," said Joe Mauer.

The Twins will appear before appreciative fans in what they hope will be a long playoff run. On Wednesday at Target Field, which opened this year, they set a single-season attendance record in Minneapolis of more than three million, 31,000 fans. That broke the record from 1988 when the Twins played at the Metrodome indoor stadium.