Sweep of Tigers showcases Twins' resiliency

Sweep of Tigers showcases Twins' resiliency

DETROIT -- After getting swept by the Yankees in New York, the Twins knew they had to bounce back against the struggling Tigers to remain in the driver's seat in the chase for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Minnesota did just that, completing a crucial four-game sweep over the Tigers punctuated by a 10-4 win on Sunday at Comerica Park. It has the Twins in prime position to make the postseason for the first time since 2010, as they maintained their 4 1/2-game lead over the Angels, who won Sunday night, while pushing the Royals and Rangers 5 1/2 back. Their magic number is down to three with six games remaining.

As the Twins held their postgame celebration in the clubhouse, they lauded each other for staying resilient, which has been a trademark of the surprising club all season.

Twins score five in the 6th

"We talked about it in our postgame thing we do about how we responded, which isn't a new thing," second baseman Brian Dozier said. "We came in here and accomplished our goal of winning all four games and going to Cleveland. We know where we're at. Trust me. We have a gauge of what's going on around us."

The Twins made history in the process with their 82nd win, becoming the 13th team -- and the first since the 2009 Mariners -- to go from 100 losses to a winning record the next season. And they can become the first team to ever go from 100-plus losses to making the postseason the next year.

"This season has had a lot of turns in the road, some good and some not-so-good. But here we are with a week to go with a chance to extend our season," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We're trying to put last year behind us as best we [can]. Hopefully, some guys learned from it."

The Twins showed off their offensive might in the series, outscoring the Tigers, 39-12, while reaching double-digits in runs in three of the four games en route to their first four-game sweep in Detroit since 2004. The Twins were retired in order only seven times in 36 innings, consistently putting pressure on Detroit's pitching. Their run has been impressive without slugger Miguel Sano, as they've posted a 20-15 mark since he sustained a likely season-ending stress reaction to his left shin.

"It means a lot, especially after getting swept in New York," said shortstop Jorge Polanco, who homered in the first inning. "Coming here and sweeping the Tigers was important because we put ourselves at a disadvantage a little bit. But we took it day by day and we were able to get four wins."

Polanco's solo homer

The Twins, though, know there is still work to do, as they head to Cleveland to face the historically hot Indians for a three-game series that begins Tuesday before hosting the Tigers at Target Field for the final three games of the regular season next weekend.

"We're going to Cleveland, where they don't lose much -- and we get that," Molitor said. "But we just want to keep it going. We're not done."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.