Tigers 6, Royals 3

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 01, 2012
Miguel Cabrera had four hits, including a homer during a five-run sixth inning, and the Detroit Tigers held off the Kansas City Royals 6-3 Monday night to clinch the AL Central title. Gerald Laird added a bases-loaded double, Rick Porcello (10-12) pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning and Jhonny Peralta went deep off Bruce Chen (11-14) to help Detroit reach the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since 1934-35. After hanging over the dugout railing the entire ninth inning, the Tigers streamed onto the field and behind the pitchers' mound to celebrate their accomplishment the moment Jose Valverde got Alcides Escobar to ground out to shortstop with a runner on second for his 35th save in 40 chances. The Tigers (87-73) will have the worst record among AL division champions, which means they'll open the playoffs Saturday at home against the division winner with the second-best mark. Not that when and where matters much to Jim Leyland's bunch. They're just glad to be back in the playoffs. After winning the division by 15 games last season, and signing Prince Fielder in the offseason, the Tigers entered spring training with lofty expectations. But they got off to a surprisingly slow start and languished below .500 in early July. Detroit was still well behind Chicago early last month. The White Sox faltered, though, and the Tigers took advantage. Now, with Cabrera making a run at baseball's first Triple Crown since 1967 and Justin Verlander in contention for a second straight Cy Young Award, Detroit is arguably the hottest team in the majors. Right-hander Anibal Sanchez has been terrific down the stretch, Fielder and Austin Jackson are having big years at the plate, and the shoddy fielding that could have forced the Tigers to sit home in October has improved to the point that they'll be pressing on into the postseason. The improved fielding was never more evident than in the fifth inning Monday night, when the Royals had loaded the bases. Escobar hit a hard grounder just to the side of second base, and Omar Infante made a nice glove-flip to Peralta covering the bag to end the inning. The play allowed the Tigers to cling to a 1-0 lead, provided by Peralta's homer in the fifth inning, until they could tack on five more runs in the sixth. Cabrera broke a tie with the Rangers' Josh Hamilton for the major league lead in homers with his 44th, a solo shot to right, and two fielding mistakes by David Lough in center led to another run. Laird's bases-loaded double knocked Chen from the game, and effectively knocked the White Sox out of the playoffs, though they didn't do much to help themselves down the stretch. Chicago beat the Indians 11-0 Monday night for just its third win in 13 games. Meanwhile, the Tigers have won seven of their last eight as they surged to the division crown, including five straight against the Royals, who have dropped eight of their last nine. Porcello kept the Royals off the scoreboard until the sixth, when Alex Gordon's homer to right field finally gave Kansas City some life. Leyland wasted no time lifting his right-hander, who'd done enough to end a string of six straight losses and pick up his first victory in nine starts. Cabrera had singles in the fourth, seventh and ninth in addition to his homer in the sixth, pushing his AL-leading average to .329, ahead of the Angels' Mike Trout and the Twins' Joe Mauer. Cabrera also moved his astonishing RBI total to 137, by far the best in the majors. Cabrera was only part of the party Monday night, though, slapping backs and exchanging high-fives with the rest of his teammates as Detroit locked up its place in the postseason. He could be the center of the celebration when the regular season ends Wednesday night. NOTES: Fielder also had four hits in the game. ... The Royals celebrated the 20th anniversary of George Brett's 3,000th hit, which occurred on Sept. 30, 1992. ... RHP Doug Fister will start for Detroit on Tuesday night against RHP Jeremy Guthrie of the Royals. ... 1B Eric Hosmer could miss the final two games of the season with a strained right shoulder, Royals manager Ned Yost said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Bubba Watson's caddie owns heckler at PGA Championship

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker