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Tigers win Central, 1st division title since ‘87
Question of the Day
Fister has allowed only four earned runs in his last 44 2-3 innings for an 0.81 ERA over that stretch. He was unfazed after giving up Willingham’s career-best 27th homer leading off the second. David DeJesus followed with a single, and Fister retired the next 17 hitters in order before another single by DeJesus, who played in his 1,000th game.
Fister allowed three hits, struck out five and didn’t walk a batter for the fifth time in nine starts for Detroit.
Valverde finished for his 44th save in as many chances this season and his franchise-record 45th in a row overall.
As the party turned the visiting clubhouse floor into a slip-and-slide of water and ice, Fister stood to the side and watched. What a difference being with Detroit.
The Tigers won for the 23rd time in 28 games dating to Aug. 19 and 25th time in the club’s last 36 road games.
“This is very special to me,” he said. “This is some fun stuff.”
“I just want to party!” yelled pitcher Al Alburquerque as he walked into the plumes of smoke coming from all corners.
Same for Leyland.
The 66-year-old could light up a fresh cigar to celebrate a division title that looked like a longshot mere months ago. The sixth-year skipper sported fresh socks and undershorts a day after Detroit’s winning streak was stopped at 12 games in a 6-1 loss in Thursday night’s series opener.
He’ll surely be changing clothes again after a bubbly celebration in the visiting clubhouse at the Coliseum.
These Tigers have been on such a roll there has been no need for scoreboard watching — even if Leyland has been doing so since April. It’s been quite a late-season surge, considering Detroit trailed the Indians by eight games and was four games under .500 on May 3.
On Friday, the offense eventually did enough to back Fister.
“We’re just a very talented and resilient team,” Avila said. “At that (early) point in the season, we knew we just had to keep playing our game and we’d get there.”
Detroit missed chances in the fourth and fifth innings after the game was delayed for 16 minutes before the top of the fourth because of an outage to the stadium lights in the Coliseum.
This is the second straight year a visiting team has clinched the division in Oakland. Reigning AL champion Texas did it last season and visits next week.
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