Minnesota Twins defeat Kansas City Royals, 13-4

By the time Jason Kubel stepped in for his first at-bat Sunday against Royals starter Luke Hochevar, the Twins were fairly certain they were facing another elimination game, and perhaps their Metrodome farewell.

The Tigers had a four-run lead in Detroit, with ace Justin Verlander on the mound. The Twins had Carl Pavano, pitching on three days' rest.

But after Hochevar walked Denard Span and Joe Mauer, Kubel did something he's done so many times this season, turning a...

The sportswriter Frank Graham once wrote of surly Yankee outfielder Bob Meusel, who became friendly at the end of his career, "He's learning to say hello when it's time to say goodbye.''

The Twins reversed that sentiment with our black-sheep stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The franchise bosses intended to say goodbye Sunday; the Dome and the current edition of the team countered with "See you again, real soon.''

The Twins' brass planned a grand finale for ...

It should happen on Tuesday against Detroit and is a near lock to happen if the Twins move on to face the Yankees in the ALDS.

Joe Mauer will be treated like he's the best hitter in the game and pitched around. And it will be up to the guy following him in the batting order to make opponents pay.

That means Twins fans might be able to celebrate more moments like on Sunday, when Jason Kubel emerged from the dugout to doff his helmet following his second three-run home...

The Twins have won 16 of their past 20 games, forcing Tuesday's showdown with Detroit to decide the AL Central champion, the winner of which will face the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. But they needed help from the Tigers, who obliged by blowing a seven-game lead on Sept. 6.

Twins outfielder Denard Span phrased it differently.

"I don't want to say they've choked, but, yeah, they have choked," Span said. "They've choked a little bit, but they have the op...