Mon, Oct 16, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Detroit Tigers advance to World Series

WHAT A TURNAROUND New manager Jim Leyland has worked wonders with a team that earned the worst record in Major League Baseball over the past 13 seasons

AP , DETROIT

The Detroit Tigers celebrate after winning the American League Championship by defeating the Oakland Athletics in Game 4 of the series in Detroit on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

MLB PlayoffsMagglio Ordonez hit his second homer of the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Detroit Tigers a 6-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday and sending them to Major League Baseball's World Series for the first time since 1984.

The three-run homer to left completed Detroit's four-game sweep of the Athletics in the American League championship series and earned it a meeting against the New York Mets or St Louis Cardinals starting next Saturday at home.

After posting the worst record in MLB over the past 13 seasons, including losing 119 games in 2003, the Tigers turned around their fortunes in their first year under manager Jim Leyland.

With the crowd of 42,967 at Comerica Park in delirium, joined by fans watching from distant downtown buildings, the Tigers celebrated.

Members of the Tigers' bullpen rushed in from left field and nearly beat Ordonez to the plate as fans twirled white towels.

Down 3-0 early, the Tigers clawed back to tie it against Dan Haren when Ordonez hit a solo home run in the sixth.

Then after Craig Monroe and series most valuable player award winner Placido Polanco singled with two outs in the ninth off Huston Street, Ordonez launched his drive over the wall.

As the Tigers celebrated, Leyland walked across the field to Oakland's first-base dugout to congratulate the A's. He had special words for A's slugger Frank Thomas, who went 0-for-13 in the series.

Cardinals 5, Mets 0

At St Louis, Jeff Suppan just about did it all for St Louis, hitting a rare home run and pitching a tidy masterpiece that gave the Cardinals control in the NL championship series against the suddenly staggering New York Mets.

Scott Spiezio hit another key triple and the Cardinals dazzled on defense, dominating the Mets to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

New York lost yet another starting pitcher to injury when an ineffective Steve Trachsel was clocked by Preston Wilson's comebacker, and the Mets' imposing lineup hardly threatened against Suppan, who allowed only three hits in eight impressive innings.

Cardinals All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen, hampered by a sore left shoulder, was back in the lineup and snapped a 1-for-15 skid with a fifth-inning single. He also made a couple of strong plays in the field.

Suppan struck out four and walked one, throwing 69 of his 99 pitches for strikes in an absolute gem. Josh Kinney finished up with a perfect ninth, leaving New York scoreless in its past 12 innings.

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