The Detroit Tigers clinched the American League Central on Friday with a 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics, capturing their first division title since 1987.
The Tigers (88-63) became the first team to win their division this season and joined the Philadelphia Phillies in the postseason.
“It’s awesome, it feels awesome,” Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera said. “We’ve done something for Detroit, for our owner, and I’m happy. We got a long way to go right now. We have to keep winning and try to be ready for the playoffs.”
Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister pitched eight spectacular innings, allowing three hits, while striking out five. After giving up back-to-back hits, including a solo home run to Josh Willingham in the first inning, Fister retired 17 consecutive batters.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Fister said. “A great group of guys to be around, a great group of guys to fight tooth and nail with. This is what we’re living for, this is what we’re playing for. Every drop of sweat, every drop of blood, tear, whatever, is what it’s all about right now.”
Jose Valverde pitched the ninth inning to secure the win with his Major League-leading 45th save.
The Tigers will make their first post-season appearance since 2006 when they qualified as the wild card team and lost the World Series.
BLUE JAYS 5, YANKEES 4
Mariano Rivera missed the chance to get his 601st career save when C.C. Sabathia failed to hold a fifth-inning lead and Jose Molina hit a ninth-inning single to lift the Toronto Blue Jays over the New York Yankees on Friday.
With the Yankees ahead 3-1, Sabathia gave up a three-run double to Aaron Lind in the fifth. Nick Swisher’s RBI single tied it in the sixth, but Lind doubled off Boone Logan (5-3) to lead off the ninth. Molina then singled with one out off Cory Wade.
New York lost its second straight game since Rivera got his 600th save on Tuesday in Seattle, Washington, moving within one of matching Trevor Hoffman’s career record.
Casey Janssen (5-0) pitched two scoreless innings as Toronto won for the fourth time in five games.
RED SOX 4, RAYS 3
At Boston, Mike Aviles hit his first homer of the year as the Red Sox held off Tampa Bay and extended their lead in the American League wild-card race to four games.
Josh Beckett (13-5) returned from a skipped start for another strong outing against the Rays, who had a chance to catch the Red Sox in the wild-card race with a sweep in Boston.
It was Boston’s second win in nine games and their first in seven tries against the Rays.
James Shields (15-11) lost for just the second time since July.
ORIOLES 8, ANGELS 3
In Baltimore, Maryland, Tommy Hunter pitched seven shutout innings as the Orioles slowed Los Angeles’ playoff push.
The Angels started the day trailing first-place Texas by 3.5 games in the American League West division. They’re now five games behind Boston in the wild-card chase.
Hunter (4-4) gave up seven hits, struck out five and walked two. Mark Reynolds and Nolan Reimold also homered for the Orioles.
Dan Haren (15-9) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five-plus innings.
In other AL action, it was:
‧ Royals 7, White Sox 6
‧ Indians 7, Twins 6
‧ Mariners 4, Rangers 0
AP, CINCINNATI, OHIO
Ryan Braun homered twice and became the second player in Brewers history to get 30 homers and steals in a season as Milwaukee beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 on Friday.