You bet

It was a good run while it lasted.

The Minnesota Twins had a chance to evoke memories of 1987 and 1991, but instead were sent packing after an 8-3 loss to Oakland in Game 3 of the AL division series on Friday.

Here's what the Twins can take into 2007, though ...

-- Joe Mauer, the former Cretin-Derham star from St. Paul, will be back as the reigning AL batting champion.
-- Justin Morneau finally showed what kind of player he can be. Easily their best at first since Hrbek.
-- Johan Santana will likely head to spring training with his second AL Cy Young Award safely tucked away.
-- IF all is right with the world, Francisco Liriano's arm will be sound again.
-- Matt Garza and Boof Bonser will no longer be rookies. No better way than to get rid of those first-year jitters than to be caught up in a playoff race.

This team was 12 1/2 games back in May and 10 1/2 back as late as Aug. 7, and STILL won the division. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise ... 2006 was a success in Minnesota.

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