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Posted on: 10-04-2009

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    The Tigers kept their fading AL-
Central title hopes alive by beating
the Chicago White Sox 5-3 Sunday
afternoon in the final scheduled
game of the year.
    The Minnesota Twins completed a 3-game home sweep vs Kansas City on Sunday.
Because the Tigers managed only one win in their 3-game set with the WSox, they
fell back into a division top spot deadlock at 86-76. Thus, a one game playoff for
MLB's last undecided post-season position will be held Tuesday at 5pm/ET under the
3H MetroDome.  
    Justin Verlander, Ryan Raburn and Magglio Ordonez all starred for Detroit and
Curtis Granderson added a circus catch to kep the Tigers on top in the late stages.
    Raburn walked to open the B-1st, went to third on a 1-out double by
Magglio Ordonez and, after an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera, came
home on a bases loaded walk to Carlos Guillen by ChiSox starter John Danks
(L, 13-11).
    Gerald Laird bunt singled to lead-off the B-2nd, was sac-bunted to
second and trotted home on Raburn's 2rHR (#15) 384-feet down the line
into the LField seats to make it 3-0.
    Ordonez' third consecutive basehit of the ballgame was a towering
lead-off homerun (#8) in the B-5th. Ordonez crushed an 0-2 Danks delivery
on an 0-2 pitch 408-feet well into the LField grandstand. (Ordonez later
completed his 21st 4-H game to tie his career-best effort with a B-7th
    Raburn dingered again (#16) with 2-out in the B-6th when he hit a
400-footer into the visitors bullpen in LCField. It's the second time this
year and third time in his MLB career Raburn had a two-homer game.  
    Verlander was cruising along with a 2-hitter, having faced just one more
than the minimum amount of batters through 7.1-IP when four straight
basehits by the bottom of the WSox batting order got Chicago back in the
game. Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez both singled, Rios scored on a double
to LCField by Ramon Castro and Brent Lillibridge (batting .150 at the time)
singled in both Ramirez and Castro to make it 5-3. Verlander wild pitched
Lillibridge to 2Base. After getting Scott Podsednik on a popout to 3Base,
Verlander walked Jayson Nix on four pitches and his day was done after
    Fernando Rodney arrived in search of a 4-out save. Rodney escaped
the B-8th when Curtis Granderson laid-out for a diving catch of a soft Carlos
Quentin flyball in the LF-CF-SS triangle of short CField. Both WSox runners
were moving on the play and would have scored to tie the game without
Grandy's grab.
    Detroit tried to tack on an insurance run in the B-8th, but Laird was out
at the plate on a 9-2 double play, attempting to score on a short fly to Dewayne
Wise. Wise's throw home was true and Laird was an easy out even though he
crashed fellow catcher Castro, who held onto the ball.
    Wise led-off the B-9th by just beating out an INF-1B, was forced-out at 2Base
on a Mark Kotsay grounder and then Rodney (SV, #37) ended the game by getting
Rios to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
    Verlander had faced just 22 hitters entering the T-8th, allowing only 2-H & 1-W
with Gordon Beckham being erased on a T-1st inning ending DP and Lillibridge
geting caught steraling to end the T-3rd. In all, Verlander scattered 6-H & 2-W
for 3-R/3-ER with 5-K to set a new career high of 19 wins (19-9). Those 19 W's tied
Verlander with C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees and Adam Wainwright of the
St. Louis Cardinals for the big league lead.
    Danks lasted just 5-IP in the loss to yield the first four Tiger tallies. First Chicago
reliever Daniel Hudson went 2-IP and gave up the other Detroit run on Raburn's
second homer.
    In addition to Ordonez' 4-for-4, Raburn went 3-for-4 plus a W with 3-RBI and Laird
was 2-for-3 with a W. There were only three other Tiger basehits, all singles.
    Ramirez was 2-for-3 at the plate for Chicago.    
    CWS     3-7-0, 3-LOB       (L) Danks, 13-11
    DET      5-12-0, 9-LOB     (W) Verlander, 19-9; (S) Rodney, #37


TIGERS MGR JIM LEYLAND:   "We had our backs totally up against the wall, and
we won. We still have a heck of a chance, obviously, to win this division...The
fact of the matter is, here are we. And the fact of the matter is, I'm proud of them"

TIGERS SP JUSTIN VERLANDER:   "I thought my fastball was really good early. It wasn't
so good in the eighth, but other than that, I felt great...What a play Curtis makes
[in the T-8th]. If he misses that who knows? It could've been a tie game."

TIGERS LF RYAN RABURN:   "[Leyland] is giving me the opportunity to play and I’ve
been able to produce … the confidence is pretty good right now. I’ve just got to keep
it this way from now on...We got one more game and, hopefully, a whole lot more."

TIGERS 3B BRANDON INGE:   "[Raburn has] done a great job. He’s done more than
anyone ever expected or asked of him...He’s performed like an absolute starter stud.
He’s been a pretty a big part if not a backbone of this thing this year.”

TIGERS CF CURTIS GRANDERSON:   "[Quentin is] probably one of the strongest guys in
baseball, so we definitely had to play a lot deeper [on the short T-8th flyball]. If someone
else is hitting, you're not as deep. Big guy, big swing, gets jammed, ball ends up hanging
up a little longer [for him to catch]...It's going to be fun [Tuesday]. I'm sure Minnesota
is going to be rocking."

TIGERS CA GERALD LAIRD:   "We did our job. And now we have to go to a tough place
to play."

WSOX MGR OZZIE GUILLEN:   ""I tip my hat to [Verlander]. This kid went out there and
did what everybody involved with the Tigers expected."


    Verlander finished with 269-K on the season, fifth best in Tiger history and the
most for a Tiger since Mickey Lolich's club record of 308 in 1971. Verlander's 269-K
also led the majors in 2009, eight more than National League leader Tim Lincecum
of the San Francisco Giants.
    Ordonez is now batting .309 on the year after going 7-for-11 (.636-BA) in the
series. His solo homer was his first round tripper since AUG 16TH.
    Raburn's first homerun was also his first career hit off Danks (0-for-8). Raburn
is leading the Tigers with 12-HR & 29-RBI vs lefthanded pitchers this season.
    Amid rumors concerning cuts on his face suffered during the weekend, Cabrera
was 0-for-3 to go 0-for-14 over the last four games and 5-for-26 on the final
(7-game) homestand.
    Sunday was the fourth anniversary of Leyland's hiring as Tiger manager.
    Final game attendance of 35,806 brought the season CoPa crowd count to
2,567,185 for the fourth largest year in Comerica Park history and fifth highest
in franchise history.
    The 163rd game Tuesday at Minneapolis has rookie Rick Porcello (14-9) listed
as Detroit's probable pitcher. Scott Baker (15-9), who defeated Detroit Thursday
afternoon, is Minnesota's designated pitcher.
    Minnesota finished the 162-game schedule on a 16-4 run. The Tigers went 11-10
during that same span. Two of the four Twins defeats were vs Detroit.
    The Twins lost a 1-0 AL-Central tiebreaker to the White Sox on 9/30/2008.



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