Tiger’s third baseman Miguel Cabrera is the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. Cabrera finished the regular season with an American League-leading .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 runs batted in. He went 0-for-2 before being lifted in Detroit’s 1-to-0 win over the Royals last night in Kansas City. Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski was the last Triple Crown winner in baseball back in 1967. The Central Division Champion Tigers will take on the Oakland A’s in the best of 5 division playoffs with games one and two in Detroit on Saturday and Sunday. Cabrera got a standing ovation from the Kauffman Stadium crowd last night as he departed in the fourth inning.
The batting title for Cabrera is his second straight after winning it last year with a .344 average. Ty Cobb was the only other Tiger to win the Triple Crown, a feat he accomplished in 1909. The Triple Crown became official when the Yankees lifted former Tiger outfielder Curtis Granderson in New York’s game with the Red Sox. Granderson homered twice to reach 43 for the year and tied with the Ranger’s Josh Hamilton, leaving them one shy of Cabrera. In last night’s game against the Royals, Detroit centerfielder Austin Jackson had the only RBI and he also had two hits to finish with a .300 average. And Max Scherzer ended up starting afterall for the Tigers and showed that his sore right shoulder appears ready for the postseason. He pitched four innings and gave up just three hits with 3 strikeouts. Sherzer wasn’t expected to go the mound last night after twisting his right ankle in Monday’s post game celebration following the pennant clinching victory over the Royals. Justin Verlander will pitch for the Tigers in their playoff opener, which has a 6:07 p.m. starting time Saturday night. The series will be televised by TBS. Sunday’s exact game time hasn’t yet been announced. Game 3, along with games 4 and 5, if necessary, will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at Oakland.
The Athletics and Yankees clinched division titles on the final day. The A's captured the AL West crown by routing the Rangers 12-to-5. Oakland trailed Texas by 13 games on June 30th, but swept the three-game series to clinch its first division title since 2006. The playoffs will get underway with the inaugural Wild Card games tomorrow. The Atlanta Braves will host the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals in the National League. The winner will advance to face the Washington Nationals. In the American League affair, the Rangers will host the Orioles. The winner will move on to clash with the Yankees. The Cincinnati Reds will face the San Francisco Giants in the other National League Division Series.