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Plouffe, Pavano Help Twins Avoid 100 Losses With Win Over Royals

The 1982 Minnesota Twins won't be getting any company this season.

This year's installment of the Twins managed to avoid the dubious distinction of being the second team in franchise history to lose 100 games, thanks to a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night at Target Field. The win was the second in a row for Minnesota, marking the first time the team has won consecutive games since August 31 and September 2.

The game marked the final time that John Gordon would sit in the play-by-play chair for the Minnesota Twins, having spent the last 25 years with the club. Gordon had announced prior to the beginning of the season that he was cutting back his schedule, and that this would be his final season with the team. He was honored by the team with a ceremony prior to the game.

All of the offense that took place in this game, at least as far as runs scored, came in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kansas City starter Bruce Chen. . .who earlier in the day had been rumored to be on his way to Boston to start in a possible one-game playoff for the Red Sox. . .pitched eight scoreless innings for the Royals, but was lifted for reliever Blake Wood. Wood got Joe Benson to ground out for the first out of the inning, but then allowed a double to pinch-hitter Denard Span. Ben Revere grounded out to shortstop, allowing Span to advance to third, and Trevor Plouffe laced a single to left with one out to bring Span home with the game's only run.

Pavano pitched a brilliant game for the Twins in the season finale, allowing just five hits in throwing a complete game shutout for Minnesota. It looked like he was in a bit of trouble in the top of the eighth when Mike Moustakas led off the inning with a triple, but Pavano induced two ground balls back to the mound to keep Moustakas at third, and got Alcides Escobar to ground out to third to end the threat.

The victory leaves the Twins with a 2011 record of 63 wins and 99 losses, a disappointing season to be certain, and the Twins are going to have a lot of questions to answer this off-season as they look toward 2012. Fortunately, players like Chris Parmelee, Joe Benson, and Liam Hendriks got some valuable time in the lineup and on the mound at the end of this season to get them better prepared to make a contribution in 2012.

That's it for the 2011 Minnesota Twins' season, ladies and gentlemen, but we'll continue to cover the Twins for you all off-season, as will our good friends from Twinkie Town. We hope you'll keep coming back for all the best news, notes, and information on Minnesota's favorite baseball team.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.