This time the Twins scored first and piled on late to carve up the Cubs and clinch a playoff berth with an 8-1 victory on Saturday.
The power show had been missing of late until Eddie Rosario hit a first-inning home run. The unrepentant Josh Donaldson hit one out as well, but it was Miguel Sano who stopped the presses after he hit a 453-foot blast that put the ball on Waveland Avenue, outside Wrigley Field. And the ball didn’t just clear the fences, there appeared to be quite a margin as it left the ballpark.
Michael Pineda gave the Twins five innings and improved to 2-0 since returning from his suspension, but it was reliever Matt Wisler who really impressed after he struck out six over two innings.
Jose Berrios gets the ball Sunday against Cubs ace Yu Darvish.
-The Twins will play in the postseason for the 14th time in Twins history (16 overall if you include the original Washington Senators) and will make back-to-back appearances in the playoffs since 2009/2010. The manager in those years was Ron Gardenhire, who abruptly retired from his managing job with the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, citing health concerns. Losing isn’t easy, and Gardy lost a lot with the Tigers, although they showed improvement this season.
The game took its toll, according to Gardenhire, who was quoted by the Associated Press.
“It’s been wonderful here, but I also know I have to take care of myself,” said Gardenhire, who was nearing the end of his third season with the Tigers. “When you come to the ballpark and you’re stressed out all day and your hands are shaking, that’s not fun. I’ve got grandbabies. I’ve got kids that I need to take care of and my wife.”
-Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson showed no remorse Saturday for getting ejected immediately after hitting a home run against the Chicago White Sox earlier in the week. Instead, Donaldson doubled down on his criticism of the umpires.
“[If] the umpire consistently isn’t doing [his] job correctly, that’s affecting our careers, that’s affecting our success,” Donaldson told reporters on Saturday in a video call, according to a transcription by the Star Tribune. “At the end of the day, there’s no reprimand, no accountability for the guys that are making the decision. As a matter of fact, they don’t care. They don’t care at all, most of them. They just want to get the game over with, for the most part, and it’s pretty sad because guys are making six figures a year and there’s no accountability.”