Verlander, Tigers force playoff vs. Twins
Justin Verlander and Ryan Raburn gave the Detroit Tigers at least one more game.
Raburn hit two homers and Magglio Ordonez had a solo shot to lead slumping Detroit over the Chicago White Sox 5-3 Sunday, putting the Tigers in a tiebreaker against Minnesota for the AL Central title.
"The way it looks, we got one more game and, hopefully, a whole lot more," Raburn said.
The Tigers and Minnesota ended 162 games tie for the division lead. The Twins will host a one-game playoff Tuesday.
"It's going to be fun," Detroit's Curtis Granderson said. "I'm sure Minnesota is going to be rocking."
A big catch by Granderson in center helped the Tigers win for only the third time in eight games. They seemed to know there was still work to do because they celebrated as if it just another victory by shaking hands on the infield.
The Tigers, of course, had been watching the scoreboard and saw that Minnesota took a big, early lead over Kansas City.
"What a play Curtis makes," Verlander said. "If he misses that who knows? It could've been a tie game."
Verlander (19-9) was handed a 5-0 lead, then left in the eighth as it got tense at Comerica Park.
Down 5-3, the White Sox had two on and two outs when Carlos Quentin hit a shallow fly. Granderson sprinted a long way and made a fully extended, diving catch to end the inning.
Fernando Rodney got the final four outs for his 37th save.
John Danks (13-11) gave up four runs and seven hits over five innings.
Verlander set a career high in wins and matched the most any pitcher had in the majors this year.
He was dominant through seven innings - giving up just two hits - before allowing three runs, four hits and a walk in the eighth.
Detroit got the strong start it needed after losing three straight, including a game against Minnesota on Thursday when it could've clinched their first division title since 1987.
Verlander gave up a single in the first, but Gordon Beckham got doubled up trying to advance on a flyout.
Raburn drew a walk in the home half and scored when Carlos Guillen walked. Raburn hit his first of two homers in the second, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead, and his second gave them a five-run lead in the sixth.
Ordonez was 4 for 4 with an RBI.
Tigers star Miguel Cabrera said he just wanted to focus on the game when he was asked Sunday morning about the bruise and cut on his left cheek. Cabrera was 0 for 3, finishing the homestand 5 for 26. ... Ordonez, whose fielding blunder from Saturday's nights loss was the picture above the fold on the front page of The Detroit Free Press on Sunday, filled up a trash can newspapers before the game. "Why not?" Ordonez said. "We don't read that." ... The defending AL Central champion White Sox finished the season 79-83.