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Waiting Game Is Worth It for Twins

Minnesota beats Cleveland, 4-1, but division title is not official until a little later.

September 24, 2003|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins had a much more difficult time winning the American League Central this year than they did in 2002. The half-hour wait Tuesday night for a second consecutive title seemed almost as hard.

Minnesota clinched the division with a 4-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians, winning its 10th consecutive game as Kenny Rogers came within one out of a shutout.

"I knew how much it meant," said Rogers, a 38-year-old veteran signed as a free agent in March when Eric Milton needed knee surgery.

Shannon Stewart drove in two runs and Cristian Guzman had two hits, including a homer.

The Twins' celebration was delayed by 30 minutes until New York's 7-0 victory over Chicago and Detroit's 15-6 rout over Kansas City -- each shown on a Metrodome scoreboard -- were complete.

The team, decked out in cream-colored T-shirts and hats declaring them 2003 AL Central champions, anxiously watched the Royals and White Sox in a beer-soaked dugout.

About half the crowd of 33,650 stuck around too, roaring when the Tigers won. Players and fans watched Manager Ron Gardenhire walk around the infield holding the jersey of third-base coach Al Newman, who is recovering from a brain hemorrhage in a Chicago hospital.

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