The Tigers spent much of the season frustrating themselves and their fans while the Kansas City Royals were the biggest surprise in baseball. With one day left in the regular season, Detroit still needed to beat the Minnesota Twins to clinch its fourth straight AL Central title. On a beautiful Sunday at sold-out Comerica Park, David Price pitched shutout ball into the 8th inning and Ian Kinsler homered as the Tigers clinched with a 3-0 victory. After the worst season of his career, Joe Nathan finished off the division title by getting Oswaldo Arcia to pop out to Alex Avila.
The ultimate walk-off
On June 30, the Oakland Athletics were three outs away from beating the Tigers 4-1 in the first game of a three-game series between perennial American League postseason teams. Once again, though, the A's had their hearts broken by Detroit. Nick Castellanos and Avila led off the inning with singles off Oakland closer Sean Doolittle. Eugenio Suarez struck out, but Austin Jackson drew a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Rajai Davis took ball one, then drove a walk-off grand slam into the Tigers bullpen. It was Detroit's first walk-off grand slam since Carlos Pena hit one in 2004 and only its third in 20 years.
Goodbye Austin, hello David
In one of the most surreal moments in recent Tigers history, Brad Ausmus came out of the dugout in the middle of a July 31 at-bat, and after a brief conversation with the umpires, sent Davis trotting onto the field to replace Austin Jackson. The crowd immediately realized what was happening, and Jackson got a standing ovation as he left the field for the last time as a Tiger. He was on his way to Seattle as part of the trade that brought Price to the Tigers -- meaning they were the first team in major-league history to have the last three Cy Young winners (Price, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer) in their rotation.
Max finally finishes one
On June 12, Scherzer pitched a three-hit shutout against the Chicago White Sox -- the first complete game of his major-league career. The 2012 Cy Young Award winner had set a major-league record by starting 178 career games without finishing any of them. Facing White Sox ace Chris Sale, though, Scherzer got into the ninth, and after a one-out single by Adam Dunn, he got Alexei Ramirez to pop up before striking out Dayan Vicideo to put a "1" in his complete-game column.
Nam Y. Huh
JV busts out the big stick
For his entire career, Justin Verlander had told anyone who would listen that he was one of the best-hitting pitchers in baseball. Unfortunately for his credibility, Verlander entered the season with zero hits in 26 at-bats, including 15 strikeouts and zero walks. That all changed on April 12, when Verlander bounced a 0-1 pitch past San Diego's Ian Kennedy and into centerfield for his first hit. Verlander acknowledged the cheers of his teammates and made sure to get the ball, but he wasn't done. In the fourth inning, he singled again off Kennedy and eventually scored his first career run.