The American League Central has belonged to the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox for most of the season, but for one long day Sunday, it belonged to the Minnesota Twins.
Minnesota shocked the Tigers with a doubleheader sweep at Comerica Field, beating the Tigers 10-4 and 2-1, while the White Sox dropped a must-win game of their own, 4-1 to the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.
In the end, Detroit remained a game in back of first-place Chicago, and Minnesota remained mired in a second straight losing season, but silencing two hungry crowds in excess of 39,000 was a thrill for the Twins.
"It's a good feeling, man," said Denard Span, who led off the 10th inning of the nightcap with a pinch single and scored the winning run on Jamey Carroll's single. "We've had a rough year all season long, and it's a good feeling to beat a team like Detroit.
"They're trying to get into the playoffs, and they've had a good season and they're battling, and for us to come out here today and match their intensity and play two good ballgames, I think it showed a lot and meant a lot."
Joe Mauer went 3-for-4 with four RBI to lead the offense in the opener, but it was the Twins' beleaguered rotation that set the tone. Scott Diamond (12-8) and P.J. Walters (3-4) each made quality starts less than 24 hours after Sam Deduno gave up seven earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of an 8-0 loss Saturday.
"We got two starts today that got us deep in the game, which we desperately needed after yesterday, only going a couple," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's the most important thing in baseball is your starters going deep in the game (to) give you a chance to win."
In the nightcap, reliever Jared Burton retired Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young with the game tied at 1 in the ninth. Cabrera, leading the AL in all the Triple Crown categories -- batting average (.331), home runs (42) and RBI (133) -- popped out to right field.
"Playing games like that in September, whether we're spoiling or vying for the playoffs, it's still fun," Burton said. "We're still hungry, and we've got another week and a half left. We're going to keep battling."