Minnesota Twins magic number after 7-0 win over Reds

The minute-hand moved even closer to midnight for the Twins to clinch the AL Central.

Minnesota Twins v Cincinnati Reds
Minnesota Twins v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Inevitability had two different meanings for Twins fans on Tuesday night in Cincinnati.

On the one hand, the Twins moved two games closer to winning the team's ninth AL Central title and 13th division title in franchise history. It came at a cost, though, as we were once again reminded that Minnesota sports fans aren't allowed to have nice things.

In the top of the sixth inning, Royce Lewis pulled up gingerly after trying to beat out a throw at first base. Two innings later Lewis swung awkwardly at a pitch and immediately looked to have injured something in his lower body.

Twins trainers had a quick look at Lewis before deciding his night was over, and the sight of watching the electric rookie walk off the field with an injury was almost too much for fans to bear.

While Lewis looked distraught while leaving the field, it was revealed after the game that he was dealing with hamstring tightness and not something more serious. Given his injury history, this was encouraging news.

That being said, the Twins are already without both Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton, with both looking questionable for the postseason. Buxton has been shut down for over a month and Correa aggravated his plantar fasciitis in Monday's loss.

The injury to Lewis was a swift kick in the groin for Twins fans and made for a trifecta of things to worry about against the backdrop of the team's postseason ticket inevitably getting punched.

What is the Minnesota Twins magic number? (Updated September 19th)

It's a De La Soul, because three is the Twins magic number.

Minnesota's win over the Reds on Tuesday was coupled with a 7-6 loss by the Guardians in Kasnas City. Those two results combined to drop the Twins magic number from five, and now puts them in a position to win the AL Central in a matter of days.

While it was frustrating to see the Twins squander an opportunity to further their division lead on Monday, it's impossible for the team to not clinch the division on the road. It's looking like one of the upcoming games against the Angels at Target Field will be the game where it all happens, and the locker room celebration will happen in the home clubhouse.

There's a slight possibility, though, that this all ends up being anticlimactic. If we get the same result tomorrow that we had tonight, the Twins magic number would be down to 1 heading into Thursday. Cleveland hosts Baltimore -- a game it will probably lose -- which would mean the division would be clinched on an off day for Minnesota.

That's the earliest the Twins can clinch the division, but it would require a win by Minnesota on Wednesday and two straight losses by Cleveland. As much quit as the Guardians have shown, a series sweep by the Royals doesn't seem likely, which is what Twins fans should be rooting for.

Either way, it appears that one of the six upcoming games at Target Field will feature some fireworks fans have been waiting since 2010 -- the last time the Twins won the division at home in front of fans -- to see.

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