If the L.A. Angels of Anaheim lost to the White Sox that evening, the Twins would be in. As such, Twins players and coaches gathered around the TV in the visitors' locker room at Progressive Field to watch the final few innings of Angels-White Sox.
With the the score tied at 4 in the bottom of the 10th inning, White Sox left fielder Nicky Delmonico came to the plate with the winning run on second base. Delmonico crushed a 2-1 pitch to right for a two-run homer, saddling the Angels with a loss and elimination from postseason contention.
Here's the reaction from the Twins the moment they clinched a spot in the 2017 MLB playoffs:
The Twins are the first team in MLB history to go from 100+ losses one year to a playoff berth the following season. Of course, one can make a solid argument that an asterisk can be placed next to that feat since 33% of teams in each league make the MLB playoffs these days. It's a much lower bar than, say, the 1960s when only the clubs which won the 10-team National League and 10-team American League made the postseason. Nevertheless, the achievement of the 2017 Twins is still impressive.
As it stands right now, the Twins will be traveling to New York to take on the Yankees in the wildcard game on Tuesday. Naturally people immediately point to the Twins' futility against the Yanks over the past 10+ years. Since 2002 (the year the Twins made the postseason for the first time in eleven seasons), the Twins have compiled an abysmal 31-78 record vs. the Yankees in the regular season and 2-12 in the playoffs. Combine that with the fact Ervin Santana, the Twins' projected started on Tuesday, is a career 0-5 with an ERA north of six at the new Yankee Stadium. So am I saying it's inevitable that the Twins will once again be the Yanks' postseason whipping boy? Not necessarily. If it comes down to one game, I definitely take my chances as opposed to having to win 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 7.
So with that, I say.......