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"We've been in these games before," Cuddyer said. "We're not a stranger to big games."
Homer Hankies that first made the national scene with the Twins' run to the World Series title in 1987 were back on display, and 51,155 fans -- the largest crowd since opening day of 1993 -- got an early reason to use them.
Luke Hochevar (7-13) walked Denard Span, who stole second, to start the game. Then, with chants of "MVP! MVP!" raining down, he pitched around Joe Mauer with one out and first base open. Kubel followed with an upper deck homer to right field and, two batters later, Young hit a solo shot to make it 4-0.
"These guys got a lot of momentum going right now," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.
Mauer went 0 for 3 and is hitting .364 for the season, all but assuring him of his second straight AL batting title and third in his career.
Kubel's second homer of the game landed just over leaping left fielder Willie Bloomquist's glove for a 7-0 lead. From then on, the crowd turned its eyes to the scoreboard, hoping the same White Sox that spoiled their season last year would help turn the day into a coronation.
Chants of "Let's go, White Sox!" filled the Dome, and one of the loudest roars of the day came when the scoreboard showed Chicago cutting Detroit's lead to 5-3. But the Tigers held on.
"We're happy to be here," closer Joe Nathan said. "A lot of people coming into September would have probably said there was no chance and I'm sure 99 percent of the people in Minnesota probably thought there was no chance either. So to be where we are, we've got a good feeling."
So, to paraphrase the late, great Jack Buck's call after Kirby Puckett's game-winning homer in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series against Atlanta ...
And we'll see ya Tuesday afternoon!
NOTES: Royals head athletic trainer Nick Swartz worked his last game. He is retiring after 21 years with the team and 33 in the organization.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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