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Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Only Race Left

Tigers Survive A Scare To Clinch A Tie: Tigers 5, White Sox 3

Riding Justin Verlander on regular rest, the Tigers managed to get almost eight innings out of their ace. The big nail-biting moment came in the eighth, when Verlander gave up an RBI double to .184-hitting Ramon Castro, and an RBI single to .158-hitting Brent Lillibridge. After throwing a wild pitch in Scott Podsednik's at-bat and walking Jayson Nix on four pitches, that brought out manager Jim Leyland with the hook, and Fernando Rodney came on to get slugger Carlos Quentin on a fly ball to center, thanks to a fine athletic catch by Curtis Granderson.

With the win, the Tigers have clinched at least a tie with the Twins for the AL Central. If the Twins win (and it looks like they will) there will be a tiebreaker game 163 on Tuesday at 4:00 PM Central in Minneapolis.

ESPN Box

After An Early Blowout, Royals Scaring Twins Late: Twins 13, Royals 4

Powered by a pair of Jason Kubel three-run homers, the Twins took an early 7-0 lead after four and looked ready to coast to a game 163. The Royals apparently had other ideas, and after six innings, it's now 8-4 Twins following a big three-run rally by the Royals. Carl Pavano lasted 5.2 innings and is in line for the win, with all but one of the Twinks' runs coming off Luke Hochevar, who only lasted three innings.

Bottom 6th: Denard Span worked a two-out walk, bringing up Old Friend Orlando Cabrera, who promptly knocked him in with an RBI double. It's 9-4 Twins to recover one of those runs, and with Joe Mauer at the plate and a man in scoring position, there's the possibility for more. Instead, Mauer bounced out to short on a slow-hit ball up the middle to end the frame.

Top 7th: The inning began with a close play at first. Mike Jacobs tapped a ball slowly up the third base line, and reliever Brian Duensing ran to field it. Throwing hard and a bit wildly, first baseman Michael Cuddyer managed to both grab the ball and tag Jacobs a millisecond before Jacobs' foot hit the base.

Bottom 7th: Jason Kubel led off with a flyball single to left, and with a big lead, Ron Gardenhire lifted him for pinch runner Carlos Gomez. After Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young both flied out, Jose Morales walked and then Matt Tolbert knocked a pair in on a 2-2 pitch from reliever Yasuhiko Yabuta to make it 10-4 Twins.

Bottom 8th: In a replay of the sixth, O-Cab knocked another in on an RBI double to make it 11-4 Twins. Two batters later, and Michael Cuddyer blasted one to left for a crushing 13-4 Twins lead. That's five homers for the Twins, who won't be able to have a practice tomorrow because the Metrodome will be in its football configuration.

Top 9th: The Twinks take it with Francisco Liriano cleaning up the game, with only pinch-hitter Tug Hulett's single coming between the Twins and a clean ninth. The Twins become the first team in the majors since division play to force two game 163's.

ESPN Box

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