Thanks to Scott Baker, the Twins remained on-target to become only the fourth team in at least the building-boom of the post-expansion era to say farewell to their ballpark with a postseason game.
Baker’s win in Detroit on Thursday afternoon pulled the Twins within two games of the Tigers in the AL Central race, on their way back home for the final regular-season series in the Metrodome, against the Royals.
If the Twins make up those two games while the Tigers are lowering the curtain against the White Sox, the teams will play a division tiebreaker Tuesday in the Metrodome. If they do even better — sweep while Detroit gets swept — they’ll steal the division title, much as they did in 2007, when the Tigers virtually led wire-to-wire but gave up the flag on the last day (although surviving as the AL Wild Card, all the way into the World Series).
Either way, the Twins, moving over to Target Field for the 2010 season, would join these teams in turning out the lights with a playoff game:
- 1996 Braves, lost Game 5 of the World Series to the Yankees, 1-0, on Oct. 24 in the final game at Fulton County Stadium (moved into Turner Field in 1997).
- 1999 Astros, lost Game 4 of the NL Division Series to the Braves, 7-5, on Oct. 9 in the final game in the Astrodome (moved into Minute Maid Park in 2000).
- 2005 Cardinals, lost Game 6 of the NL Championship Series to the Astros, 5-1, on Oct. 19 in the final game in Busch Stadium II (moved into Busch Stadium III in 2006).
If they get the chance, guess the only thing the Twins would want to do differently is become the first outgoing team to actually win the finale.