Brooke Lemke – 23 Sports

The Minnesota Twins clinched a postseason playoff spot after their 2-1 series victory over the Cubs, but the Cubs still have yet to secure their spot.

The Cubs started with a solid performance in game one of the three-game series, shutting out the Twins 1-0. The only run of the night came in the bottom of the first inning. Rich Hill had given up back-to-back walks to lead off the bottom of the first, and a centerfield shot by Willson Contreras scored Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs the lead. Kyle Hendricks pitched for the Cubs in a pitcher’s duel against Hill. Both pitchers went seven innings, with Hendricks pitching 10 strikeouts and Hill earning five.

Alec Mills, who threw a no-hitter in his most recent outing against the Brewers for a Cubs win, started game two. In the top of the first, Mills gave up a deep long ball to Eddie Rosario for the 1-0 lead. The Cubs answered in the bottom of the second, tying the score with an RBI single by David Bote to score Contreras.

The score in game two remained tied going into the sixth inning. The Twins scored in the top of the sixth off an RBI by Rosario. The Cubs relieved Mills from the mound in the seventh after Miguel Sanó’s solo home run. 

The Cubs defense could not keep up with the seventh inning hitting power by the Twins, who added five runs that inning to make the score 7-1. Josh Donaldson capped the score at 8-1 in the ninth with a solo home run. Saturday’s 8-1 victory over the Cubs secured a playoff spot for the Twins.

The Twins took a strong start in the series finale, earning an RBI in each of the first two innings. José Berríos pitched six shutout innings against the Cubs, facing off against Yu Darvish who had also pitched six innings, striking out nine batters. The Twins earned their last two runs of the night in the seventh off a two run homer by Max Kepler. The final score remained 4-0, resulting in a 2-1 series win for the Twins. 

The series win for the Twins clinched their playoff spot. The Cubs still have work to do in order to earn their playoff spot. The Cubs travel to Pittsburgh for a four-game series, starting Monday night and ending Thursday. Jon Lester faces JT Brubaker in the series opener on Monday night. Then, the final homestand for the Cubs starts Friday against the Chicago White Sox. Depending on how the Cubs play against the Pirates, as well as how the other NL Central teams perform, the postseason play may come down to a battle of Chicago.

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