Series: Game 3 of 3

Minnesota won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, September 24
Cleveland 3Final
Minnesota 4
Game 2: Wednesday, September 25
Cleveland 5Final
in 12
Minnesota 7
Game 3: Thursday, September 26
Cleveland 8Final
Minnesota 4

Indians 8

(71-88, 35-46 away)

Twins 4

(91-67, 51-27 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 26, 2002

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    CLE 000101303 8 - -
    MIN 000120010 4 - -

    W: R. Drese (10-9)

    L: M. Jackson (2-3)

    Indians post 8-4 victory over playoff-bound Twins

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins weren't concerned about losing a game to the Cleveland Indians -- the important thing is their ace looks ready for the playoffs.

    Twins Fans Snap Up Tickets
    MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have nearly sold out their home games for next week's playoff games at the Metrodome.

    As of 7 p.m. Thursday, there were less than 700 obstructed-view seats left for Games 3 and 4 of an AL divisional series to be

    played Oct. 4 and 5. It's a best-of-five series, so Game 4 will only be played if necessary.

    The Twins will lift the white curtain displaying retired numbers

    and championship banners in the upper deck to bring seating

    capacity over 53,000. Minnesota, which clinched the AL Central

    title, will play AL West champion Oakland in the first round.

    This will be the Twins' first postseason appearance since 1991, when they won their second World Series.

    -- The Associated Press

    Brandon Phillips had three hits and a career-high four RBI, and Ryan Drese won his 10th game for the Indians in an 8-4 victory over Minnesota on Thursday night.

    Twins starter Brad Radke was sharp in his final tuneup for the playoffs, and he will start Game 1 when the American League Central champions open the postseason at Oakland next Tuesday.

    ''We got what we wanted out of Radke,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''He was locked in. He had his stone face on.''

    Oakland won its 100th game in clinching the AL West on Thursday.

    ''We're the underdogs,'' Gardenhire said. ''We're not supposed to do this. That's fine with us. We'll take that.''

    Torii Hunter, who's had a slow second half since playing in the All-Star game, homered and drove in two runs -- another good sign for the Twins.

    ''I'm feeling pretty good,'' said Hunter, who went 0-for-13 and strained a muscle in his buttocks on Minnesota's last road trip. ''I have to make up for lost time.''

    Jim Thome stretched his streak of reaching base to 52 consecutive games and Lee Stevens drove in two runs for Cleveland, which finished 8-11 against the Twins after winning 14 of 19 meetings last season.

    The Indians (71-88) are trying to avoid losing 90 games for the first time since 1991, when they went 57-105.

    Cleveland's clubhouse is filled with minor league callups, and manager Joel Skinner was pleased with what he saw over the last 10 days.

    ''This is the third town on their first big league road trip,'' Skinner said. ''There are a lot of bodies in the clubhouse, but some of these guys did some things for the first time. There were a lot of positives.''

    The Indians aren't used to watching the playoffs on television, but they're eager to see the Twins take on the A's.

    ''When you get to the postseason, anything can happen if you peak at the right time,'' Thome said. ''The postseason is all about getting breaks and doing the little things that win games. Both teams have excellent pitching. The Twins are very, very tough at home. It's going to be an exciting series.''

    Drese (10-9), in his first full major league season, gave up seven hits, three runs -- two earned -- and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out three.

    Sent to Triple-A Buffalo briefly in August, Drese lowered his ERA to 6.55 in his second start since being recalled. He was 1-2 with a 9.16 ERA in his first four starts against the Twins this year.

    Minnesota closed to a run when Tom Prince doubled in Michael Restovich in the eighth, but Phillips hit a three-run double in the ninth off Kevin Frederick.

    Radke, completing his seventh major league season, left with a 3-2 lead after six innings. He gave up four hits and two runs, striking out six without walking a batter.

    A groin pull cost Radke 2 months this season, but he went 5-2 over his final eight starts and finished 9-5. He failed to reach 10 victories for the first time in his career.

    Chris Magruder, Coco Crisp and Phillips each hit run-scoring doubles off Mike Jackson (2-3) in the seventh inning.

    Radke retired the first 10 batters until Phillips hit his first career triple in the fourth.

    Phillips, a top infield prospect acquired by Cleveland in the Bartolo Colon trade with Montreal in June, hurt his right shoulder sliding into Corey Koskie's leg at third but stayed in the game and scored on a single by Stevens.

    The Twins quickly tied it on Hunter's 29th homer on Drese's first pitch in the bottom half. They took a two-run lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Jacque Jones and a double by Hunter.

    Jones, who'd been out with a sprained ankle, made his first plate appearance since Sept. 17.

    Radke successfully worked his way out of the sixth with minimal damage after loading the bases with none out, allowing only a sacrifice fly by Stevens that made it 3-2.

    Thome, who has five career homers against Radke, struck out and Karim Garcia popped out to end the inning.

    ''I thought Brad threw the ball very well tonight,'' catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. ''That's a good sign.''

    Game notes

    Cleveland third baseman Travis Fryman didn't play, but he was honored before the game by the Twins, a longtime rival during his 13 seasons in the AL with the Indians and Detroit. Gardenhire, Jackson and infielder Denny Hocking presented Fryman -- who's retiring after this year -- with some fishing gear and a gift certificate for a local outdoors store. ... Pierzynski's first three at-bats: strikeout, double play, double play. ... Cleveland made a season-high four errors.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press