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Notes: Twins will miss Interleague Play

Notes: Twins will miss Interleague Play

MINNEAPOLIS -- Interleague Play will come to an end for the Twins on Sunday, and it's a bit of a bittersweet farewell for the club.

The Twins couldn't have asked for a better run, with a 15-2 record heading into their final game against the Brewers.

"You never know what's going to happen when you hit National League stuff," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When we came off that last trip in early June, we weren't doing very well. Honestly, going into all this stuff, we were just trying to survive. Then we make a few changes and you start feeling better about yourself. You can sit there and go, 'Well, you expected this, but you can never expect it.' It's really amazing."

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The Twins have won 17 of their last 18 games, with 14 of those games being against teams in the National League. The club's lone loss came in Houston against the Astros on June 21.

"The way we were playing, we just needed to get on a roll and it just so happened that we hit our hot spot against the National League," Mike Redmond said. "It seemed like you just saw it before the start of Interleague. We were pitching well and had some good turns of the rotation and bam, we hit Interleague. Now, we've continued that run. This game is so much about confidence and we just hope we can keep it up."

But as the long stretch of Interleague games comes to an end, all the focus for the Twins will turn back to the American League Central division. Both the Tigers and the White Sox have delivered similar winning streaks during the Interleague stretch, which has left the Twins still 10 games back in the division race.

Now, as the club leaves to play its first series within the division since playing at Detroit on May 16-18, where they were swept, the Twins seem more than ready to get back to face their AL rivals.

"You have to play head-to-head sometime," Joe Mauer said. "And it just feels like a good time to get back to the Central."

The first stop is a three-game series at Kansas City to face the Royals, starting on Monday. After going just 2-13 against their division rivals during the first two months of the year, the Twins hope to produce much different results.

"It's going to be fun, because we've been playing well now and we're confident," Redmond said. "Now we just have to go out there and finish it out for the rest of the season."

Stewart making his mark: It didn't take long for Shannon Stewart to reacquaint himself with the Twins lineup.

After going 4-for-4 with an RBI and a walk in his debut performance on Saturday night, Stewart was once again slotted as the designated hitter for the Twins in their day game on Sunday.

Stewart, who missed 33 games with a partial tear in the plantar fascia of his left foot, was just glad to be a part of the club's success.

"It was just good to be able to fit right in, because the last thing you want to do is come in here and hurt the team when they are playing so well," Stewart said.

The biggest part of Stewart's night may have been drawing a walk off Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow in the eighth inning, driving in the go-ahead run to help the Twins earn a 10-7 victory over the Brewers.

"It was big to push us ahead," Stewart said. "I was just trying to concentrate and get a hit. I'm glad he did throw four balls, though, because who knows what would have happened -- that guy throws real hard."

White update: Rondell White went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the second game of his rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Rochester. In two games, White has gone 3-for-8 for the Red Wings.

Twins tidbits: The Twins are expected to go over the one million mark in attendance Sunday after just 40 home dates. The last time the Twins reached the number in fewer dates was in 1992. ... Torii Hunter committed an error in Saturday night's game. It was his first since May 22, 2005, vs. Milwaukee, a span of 136 games. ... Double-A New Britain infielder Matt Tolbert was named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week on the week ending June 30. Tolbert, 24, hit .333 with two home runs, five RBIs and five walks in seven games.

Down on the farm: Glenn Williams was 2-for-4 with an RBI double as Rochester lost, 6-4, to Buffalo on Saturday night. Jason Miller pitched five innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out four. ... Outfielders Denard Span and Trent Oeltjen each tallied an RBI for New Britain as the Rock Cats lost to Connecticut, 9-5. ... Third baseman Luke Hughes went 3-for-3, but Class A Fort Myers was held to a shutout in a 4-0 loss to Dunedin. Brian Duensing picked up his fourth loss of the year as he allowed three runs, none earned, over six innings. ... Eli Tintor blasted his fourth homer of the season and Whitney Robbins went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to help carry Class A Beloit to a 7-6 win over Kane County.

Coming up: The Twins leave the comfort of the Metrodome for a seven-game road trip heading into the All-Star break. The first stop will be Kansas City, where they will open a three-game set on Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Johan Santana will take to the mound for the Twins against Royals right-hander Scott Elarton.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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