Sunday's post-game ceremony commemorating the Twin's last game at the Metrodome seemed a bit strange. Why? The season isn't over yet.
The Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 13-4 Sunday, putting them in a season-ending tie with the Detroit Tigers for first place in the division. That means there'll be at least one more game at the dome, when the Twins play the Tigers in a tiebreaker Tuesday.
An hour before the Twins' final regular season game, fans were already filling the upper decks of the Metrodome. Not only could this have been their last chance to see the Twins at the dome - but, it could also have been an opportunity to see the Twins clinch the division title.
Jim Shereck, of Woodbury came to see the latter.
"I think the Twins are going win," he said. "I think it will be close, but I think they'll pull it out. And I think Detroit will lose."
So Shereck and more than 51,000 other fans split their attention between the game on the field and the out-of-town scoreboard. The pressure was on the Twins even before they got to bat in the first inning. Detroit was already beating Chicago 3-0. A Detroit win and a Twins loss would mean bye-bye dome, and bye-bye 2009 season. But it didn't take long to relieve that pressure.
With two runners on base Jason Kubel blasted a 383-foot home run to right field. And later that inning, Delmon Young hit a solo tater over the left field fence. Before anyone could get nervous, the Twins were up 4-0. Kubel and Young repeated their feats later in the game. It was the first time since 2001 that multiple Twins players hit multiple homeruns in a single contest.
The crowd had plenty more to cheer about. The Twins were hitting baseballs all over the place. Orlando Cabrera hit two RBI doubles and Michael Cuddyer hit his team-leading 32nd homerun of the season. And at one point the fans erupted when the scoreboard showed Detroit's lead had shrunk to just two runs.
But Detroit held on to win, and will come to the dome to settle the tie.
Manager Ron Gardenhire says the must-win game couldn't have happened at a better point in the season.
"Over the last couple of weeks here - three weeks or so - we've really played good baseball," he said. "It's been one heck of a run up to this point."
Coming into Sunday's game, the Twins had won 15 of their last 20 games. Cuddyer says confidence has been key to their late season success. "We feel like, no matter what, we're going to be in the game," he said. "And that's huge. Because we didn't have much confidence earlier this season."
A win on Tuesday will bring the Twins their 7th division title since they started playing in the Metrodome in 1982. The Metrodome has not only been the site of the majority of the Twins postseason play, but during their 28 seasons, the team has drawn nearly 50 million fans.
The Twins are glad they'll play at least one more game at the dome. And so are Twins fans, like Craig Dansky, who lined up immediately after the game to buy tickets for the tie-breaker game.
"We were inside the game already," he said. "And we actually walked out early to get in line."
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.