No team in baseball history has come from three games back with four games to play. The Minnesota Twins like those odds.
Thanks to an early beatdown of the Royals' Lenny DiNardo and a serviceable start from Jeff Manship, the Twins tallied a 10-7 victory over Kansas City. Meanwhile, Jake Peavy and our new best friends in Chicago shut the Tigers out again. The lead in the AL Central is one measly game. Cool, huh?
Delmon Young started the festivities in the bottom of the first, pretending a DiNardo fastball was Jose Mijares and launching a grand slam into the left-center seats. In one inning of official work, DiNardo gave up 7 runs, 5 earned. As it turned out, the Twins would need every one of those and a few more.
The blame for that cannot be laid at Jeff Manship's feet. He pitched into the 6th and posted his first major league win, giving up 3 earned on 8 hits. The same cannot be said of Jesse Crain or Mijares, who both had trouble getting batters out, forcing Ron Gardenhire to go deep into the bullpen in a game the Twins led 10-0. Ron Mahay put out Crain's fire, Matt Guerrier did likewise for Mijares (who was shown on SportsCenter attacking the dugout wall with his foot after leaving the game), and Joe Nathan pitched a drama-free 9th to post his Twins-record 46th save.
Beyond that: Jason Kubel hit his 25th home run, Orlando Cabrera committed two errors, Joe Mauer is at .366 after 1-for-4 night, and Jon Rauch was the only reliable bullpen arm that went unused.
Enjoy the pennant race, everybody.