Twins beat Cubs 8-1 to clinch second straight playoff berth

Jorge Polanco #11 and Byron Buxton #25 of the Minnesota Twins celebrate their team's 8-1 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. ((Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images))

For the second straight season, the Minnesota Twins will be in the American League playoffs.

The Twins beat the Cubs 8-1 Saturday night at Wrigley Field to improve to 32-22 in the shortened 60-game season, clinching a playoff spot in the process. When the game ended, there was no celebration on the field, no champagne celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players simply exchanged handshakes, high-fives and smiles as they left the field.

Michael Pineda went five strong innings in his second start of the season, allowing one earned run on four hits with one strikeout and no walks.

Eddie Rosario hit an early home run and added a run-scoring single. Miguel Sano and Josh Donaldson each homered, and Mitch Garver and Byron Buxton added run-scoring singles as the Twins scored five runs in the seventh inning to blow the game open.

With six regular season games to play, the Twins now know they’re in the playoffs and are playing for seeding. They’re three games behind the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central Division, so their goal for the next week will be earning a top four seed for the playoffs.

The top four teams in each league at the end of the regular season will host a best-of-three series, with all three games played at the higher seeded stadium. The winners of those series advance to the Division Series, which for the American League are in bubbles in San Diego and Los Angeles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rocco Baldelli has now led the Twins to a pair of playoff appearances in his first two seasons as manager. He won the AL Manager of the Year in 2019 after leading Minnesota to 101 wins, and its first division title since 2010.

The Twins finish their series with the Cubs Sunday night, and after an off day Monday, finish the regular season with a five-game home stand against the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds.