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Tigers shut down by White Sox, AL Central deadlocked

Oct 3, 2009, 10:10 PM EDT

With one day left in the season, the AL Central is all tied up. The White Sox and Freddy Garcia saw to that by limiting the Tigers to just one extra-base hit in a 5-1 victory on Saturday. It followed the Twins’ 5-4 win over the Royals earlier in the day.
Garcia was terrific against his former team, allowing just five singles through seven scoreless innings. The Tigers threatened in the eighth, when Adam Everett doubled — giving Detroit its first extra-base hit of the series — and Curtis Granderson singled to knock Garcia out of the game. Tony Pena came in and immediately allowed an RBI single. However, he got out of the jam from there, as Magglio Ordonez lined out and Miguel Cabrera delivered a double-play ball.
The Tigers’ decision not to go with Justin Verlander on three days’ rest came back to haunt them, as Alfredo Figaro pitched just 1 1/3 innings as the replacement starter. Incredibly, Tigers manager Jim Leyland brought in his lefty specialist to face one batter with the bases loaded and one out in the second. The move mostly worked, as Fu-Te Ni generated an RBI groundout and Armando Galarraga escaped the inning from there. Gallaraga, though, allowed two runs over the following two innings, and the White Sox had done all of the damage they’d need.
Unfortunately, that obscured some stellar work from 2008 first-round pick Ryan Perry, who threw a career-high three innings without allowing a run.
With just Sunday’s action remaining, a one-game playoff on Tuesday now appears destined. The Tigers will start Verlander on normal rest tomorrow, while the White Sox counter with John Danks. Detroit would have both Rick Porcello and Edwin Jackson available on Tuesday, though it’d be Porcello’s turn to start.
The Twins made a surprising change after Saturday’s game, announcing that Carl Pavano would start Sunday’s game on short rest. He’s being picked over left-hander Brian Duensing, who beat the Royals by allowing two runs over five innings on Aug. 22. He’s 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA in nine starts this season. Pavano is 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 starts as a Twin and 3-3 with a 6.63 ERA in six starts against the Royals this season.

  1. jpo - Oct 4, 2009 at 10:14 AM

    RE In first paragraph:
    “limiting the White Sox” should read “limiting the Tigers.”

  2. db - Oct 4, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Why is a one-game playoff “destined”? If one team loses today and another wins, the one who wins is the division champ?

  3. Bill Henderson - Oct 4, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    Being a lifelong Tiger fan (I have two Tiger Stadium seats in my yard), it pains me to say that the way Tigers have played, they’re not worthy of being in the playoffs.

  4. Centrist - Oct 4, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    Didnt Time Magazine do a cover story this week called ‘The Tragedy Of Detorit’. Maybe they should have called it the Tragedy At Comerica Park. Just disgraceful play on the part of the Tigers. Thank goodness that Hockey is just around the corner.

  5. PETER C. GERDINE - Oct 4, 2009 at 12:19 PM

    And it pains me to agree with you. I have followed the Tigers since the days of Al Kaline, Harvey Kuenn, Denny McLain et al, and they never played this poorly down the stretch. They were either in it or not at this point in the season, and I am fully aware of how awful they have been in recent years. The Twins, on the other hand, have played magnificently down the stretch and deserve to face the Yankees in the 1st round of the AL playoffs. Again, sayijg this is hard for me, being a longtime Tigers fan. Then again, Bill, the Wolverines lost another one yesterday, so maybe it’s in the Detroit River water?

  6. jaxyanks - Oct 4, 2009 at 12:39 PM

    db: because if they both win (or lose) today, they will end in a dead tie.

  7. jaxyanks - Oct 4, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    Gardenhire has done everything right down the stretch but it will blow up in his face today. Counting on Carl Pavano is huge mistake. I guess he hasen’t been paying attention to Pavano the last 4 years.
    My guess (and the Twins only hope) is that both teams lose today and playoff on Tuesday.
    Good news for Yankee fans: Verlander will not be pitching game 1 of the ALDS if the Tigers win the central.

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