The 5 wins that have defined the 2017 Twins

Throughout the entire 2017 regular season, there was one word that followed the Minnesota Twins around from ballpark to ballpark.

Resilient.

Minnesota, which finished the year with an 85-77 record, fought through the ups and downs of the regular-season grind to best the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays by five games and capture the American League’s second wild card.

FOX Sports North reviews the season’s box scores and storylines to recall those five “resilient” wins that proved to be the difference in the wild-card race and earned the Twins their first playoff berth since 2010.

 

April 7: Twins 3, White Sox 1

Coming off a franchise-worst 103-loss season in 2016 that began with an 0-9 record, all fears of a slow start were halted when the Twins topped Chicago 3-1 on April 7. The win improved the Twins to 4-0, slotting them as one of two remaining undefeated teams in Major League Baseball. Minnesota’s starter Phil Hughes allowed just one run in six innings, and Miguel Sano and Chris Gimenez both notched RBI doubles for the Twins’ first road win of the season.

 

May 19: Twins 4, Royals 3

Minnesota was trailing 3-1 to the Royals heading into the bottom of the ninth. With one out, catcher Jason Castro singled to center field. Then Kennys Vargas stepped up to the plate, pinch hitting for Byron Buxton. Vargas launched the second pitch he saw deep into the right field seats to tie the game. Minnesota went on to win it in the 10th inning on Jorge Polanco’s sacrifice fly to score Joe Mauer. The Twins improved to 21-17 on the year and upheld their one-game lead in the AL Central.

 

June 25: Twins 4, Indians 0

The buzz about the Twins’ hot start was cooling off after the Cleveland Indians completed a sweep at Target Field from June 16-18 and overtook the lead from Minnesota in the AL Central. So what did the Twins do? They went to Progressive Field and returned the favor. Ervin Santana tossed six scoreless innings, and Buddy Boshers and Brandon Kintzler slammed the door to beat the Indians 4-0 and sweep the three-game series. This win proved these Twins were for real.

 

July 7: Twins 9, Orioles 6

Twins starting pitcher Felix Jorge was making his second career big-league start, but it didn’t go smoothly. He was bounced after the Orioles ran up the score 6-0 just 2 2/3 innings into the game. Minnesota scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to close the gap to 6-2. In the fifth, five straight Twins reached base, and Gimenez gave the Twins a 7-6 lead with a RBI single. Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly, Matt Belisle, Taylor Rogers and Kintzler held the O’s scoreless for the final 6 1/3 innings, and Buxton added an insurance run by scoring on a Brian Dozier single … from first base.

 

Aug. 6: Twins 6, Rangers 5

The Twins dealt All-Star reliever Kintzler and Jaime Garcia at the trade deadline on July 31, prompting many to think this team’s run at the postseason was finished. That was not the case. Down 5-0 after a half inning of play, Max Kepler and Dozier both knocked two-run homers in the bottom of the second, and Eddie Rosario tied things up in the third with a solo shot of his own. The Twins eventually took the lead for good off a Grossman RBI single, and once again, Hildenberger, Rogers and Belisle shut down the Rangers. This win started a six-game winning streak, and Minnesota went on to win 11 of its next 14 contests to reestablish its legitimacy in the wild-card race.