Price Pitches Tigers Past Twins For Fourth Straight Division Title
DETROIT -- David Price pitched Detroit to its fourth straight AL Central title with the type of performance the Tigers acquired him for, taking a shutout into the eighth inning of a 3-0 victory over Minnesota on Sunday that wrapped up the division on the regular season's final day.
The Tigers face the Orioles in one AL division series. Game 1 is in Baltimore on Thursday.
Ian Kinsler hit a solo homer in the third, and the Tigers added two more runs in the eighth off Kyle Gibson (13-12).
Detroit entered the game with a postseason berth already wrapped up, but the Tigers led the division by only one game over Kansas City. The victory gave Detroit a division championship under first-year manager Brad Ausmus -- regardless of what the Royals were doing in Chicago against the White Sox.
Detroit got Price (15-12) in a blockbuster deal moments before the trade deadline, and he allowed four hits in 7 1/3 innings in the finale. Joba Chamberlain pitched the rest of the eighth, and Joe Nathan finished for his 35th save in 42 chances.
Nathan, Detroit's maligned closer, retired Oswaldo Arcia on a foul popup to end it, and the Tigers spilled onto the field to celebrate in front of a delighted crowd at Comerica Park. Detroit hadn't clinched a division title at home since 1987, and this game was eerily similar to that one for a while.
Detroit won 1-0 in that `87 clincher at Tiger Stadium, with Frank Tanana pitching a shutout. Price throws nothing like the soft-tossing Tanana, but the 29-year-old left-hander etched his own name into Tigers lore Sunday at Comerica Park.
He struck out eight with two walks and passed Cleveland's Corey Kluber for this year's major league lead in strikeouts with 271.
And Detroit's shaky bullpen had no trouble closing it out. There was an audible groan from the crowd when Ausmus pulled Price in the eighth after 112 pitches, but Chamberlain and Nathan retired the last five Minnesota batters without a hitch.
The Twins battered Detroit for 23 runs over the previous two games, preventing the Tigers from clinching the division earlier. Price shut Minnesota down Sunday, but Gibson nearly matched him. He allowed three runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Kinsler's RBI single chased Gibson, and Torii Hunter followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Now Detroit will try to reach the AL championship series for the fourth straight season as well. The Tigers have not won the World Series since 1984.
Detroit started the season 27-12, and the Tigers looked like heavy favorites in the division after acquiring Price, but they ended up in a tight race throughout September.
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