Detroit at Kansas City

Kansas City
W: R. Porcello (10-12) L: B. Chen (11-14)
S: J. Valverde (35)
HR: DET - J. Peralta (13),M. Cabrera (44)   KC - A. Gordon (14)

Tigers repeat as AL Central champs; Cabrera improves Triple Crown chances wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jim Leyland had tears in his eyes as he surveyed his crowded office Monday night.

There was Miguel Cabrera, surrounded by his family, with the Triple Crown within reach. Justin Verlander, closing in on another Cy Young Award, had a pair of swimming goggles perched on his head, while Tigers owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Dave Dombrowski slapped each other on the back.

The smell of cigars wafted through the door to the clubhouse as the Tigers, counted out so many times this season, celebrated a 6-3 victory against the Kansas City Royals that clinched the AL Central title and back-to-back playoff trips for the first time since 1934-35.

More on Tigers-Royals
Related links
More MLB coverage

"We wanted to win this game. That was our goal, to win this one," said Cabrera, who had four hits, including a solo home run during a five-run sixth inning. "We did it."

The Tigers were even mindful of their victory celebration, choosing Fre Brut -- an alcohol-removed sparkling wine -- in deference to Cabrera, who has had his share of alcohol abuse problems.

"It feels really good," said Prince Fielder, who was doused in the stuff from his dreadlocks all the way down to his shoelaces. "I mean, it wasn't easy, but we got it done."

Fielder also finished with four hits and Gerald Laird had 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 stake the Tigers to a big cushion.

After hanging over the dugout railing the entire ninth inning, they streamed onto the field behind the pitchers' mound to celebrate 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 Leyland's bunch.

They're just glad to be back in the playoffs.

"It was a rocky road, it was a tough season, but in this business, you have to be able to take some hits," Leyland said. "This isn't a place for the faint-hearted. Hell, we took a lot of punches, a lot of them justified, some of them maybe not. But hey, we can take a punch."

After winning the division by 15 games last season and signing Fielder in the offseason, the Tigers entered spring training with lofty expectations. But they got off to a surprisingly slow start and were below .500 in early July. They were still well behind Chicago early last month.

The White Sox faltered, though, and the Tigers took advantage.

"You've got to take your hat off to them. They're the champs," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They've got the starting pitching, the power, a great bullpen. They've got a chance to go deep."

Indeed, with Cabrera closing in on baseball's first Triple Crown since 1967 and Verlander in the running for more hardware, Detroit might be 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.

"You get that kind of momentum, usually it ends up very good," said Ilitch, who has spent a lot of his money to chase the Tigers' first World Series title since 1984.

"I wasn't nervous about it at all. We didn't fall apart," he said. "We just had the bottom part of the batting order that wasn't contributing, and at the end, we got a little bit out of them."

The Tigers clung to a 1-0 lead provided by Peralta's home run until their big sixth inning.

Cabrera broke a tie with Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton for the major-league lead in home runs with his 44th, a solo shot to right. 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 second-place White Sox out of the playoffs, though they didn't do much to help themselves down the stretch.

Chicago beat the Indians 11-0 on Monday night for only its third victory in 13 games.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have won seven of their past 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 home run to right field finally gave Kansas City some life. Leyland wasted no time lifting his right-hander, who had done enough to end a string of six consecutive 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 batting 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.

"He's a once-in-a-lifetime player," Dombrowski said. "I talked to him and he said, 'The Triple Crown is important, but it's not the most important thing. I want to win a championship.' "


  • 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.
  • Royals 1B Eric Hosmer and 3B Mike Moustakas could miss the final two games of the season. Hosmer has a strained right shoulder and Moustakas has a groin injury.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Miguel Cabrera's four hits, including a home run, help Detroit clinch and push him closer to making history.  (AP)
Miguel Cabrera's four hits, including a home run, help Detroit clinch and push him closer to making history. (AP)

Players of the Game

M. Cabrera
AB 5
R 1
H 4
HR 1
Kansas City

A. Gordon
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Detroit Tigers
Austin Jackson, CF5000023 .298
Omar Infante, 2B5000010 .273
Miguel Cabrera, 3B5141000 .329
Prince Fielder, 1B5140001 .313
Delmon Young, DH5000026 .269
Jhonny Peralta, SS4211012 .241
Andy Dirks, LF4120000 .323
Avisail Garcia, RF3110110 .333
Gerald Laird, C4023000 .282
2B - Prince Fielder (33, Chen), Gerald Laird (8, Chen)
HR - Miguel Cabrera (44, Chen), Jhonny Peralta (13, Chen)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera (137), Jhonny Peralta (63), Gerald Laird 3 (11)
2-OUT RBI - Gerald Laird 3 (6)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Austin Jackson 1
DP - Infante-Peralta-Fielder, Peralta-Infante-Fielder
E - Gerald Laird (4, Throwing)
Detroit Tigers
Rick Porcello (W,10-12) 5411331 4.59
Al Alburquerque 1111210 0.68
Octavio Dotel 1000000 3.57
Joaquin Benoit 1311020 3.68
Jose Valverde (S,35) 1100000 3.78
WP - Rick Porcello (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Rick Porcello 88-56, Al Alburquerque 24-12, Octavio Dotel 8-7, Joaquin Benoit 25-17, Jose Valverde 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rick Porcello 6-5, Al Alburquerque 1-0, Octavio Dotel 2-1, Jose Valverde 1-2
Batters Faced - Rick Porcello 21, Al Alburquerque 5, Octavio Dotel 3, Joaquin Benoit 5, Jose Valverde 4
Kansas City Royals
Jarrod Dyson, DH3000110 .262
   a- Brayan Pena, PH-DH1000001 .245
Alcides Escobar, SS5010004 .289
Alex Gordon, LF4221011 .293
Billy Butler, 1B4110012 .312
Salvador Perez, C3020100 .305
Mike Moustakas, 3B2000212 .242
    Tony Abreu, 3B0000000 .265
Jeff Francoeur, RF4011012 .235
David Lough, CF4010012 .237
Irving Falu, 2B3010100 .354
a-fouled out for Dyson in the 9th
2B - Billy Butler (32, Alburquerque)
HR - Alex Gordon (14, Porcello)
RBI - Alex Gordon (72), Jeff Francoeur (48)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur (26)
SB - Alcides Escobar (33, 3rd base off Porcello/Laird)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Alex Gordon 1
DP - Escobar-Falu-Butler
E - David Lough (1, Dropped fly)
Kansas City Royals
Bruce Chen (L,11-14) 5.21062132 5.07
Louis Coleman 2.1200040 3.75
Vin Mazzaro 0.2100000 5.73
Tommy Hottovy0100000 2.89
Aaron Crow 0.1000000 3.53
IBB - Garcia by Bruce Chen
Pitches-Strikes - Bruce Chen 90-55, Louis Coleman 39-26, Vin Mazzaro 6-3, Tommy Hottovy 2-2, Aaron Crow 1-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bruce Chen 3-10, Louis Coleman 1-2, Vin Mazzaro 1-1, Aaron Crow 1-0
Batters Faced - Bruce Chen 27, Louis Coleman 9, Vin Mazzaro 3, Tommy Hottovy 1, Aaron Crow 1
Game Information
Attendance - 15312
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Brian Knight, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Mark Wegner