Keep the champagne on ice, the Detroit Tigers’ AL Central division title celebration is on hold for at least one more day.
With a chance to wrap up their first division crown since 1987, the Tigers turned in a lackluster performance at Oakland Thursday night, losing 6-1 to end their 12-game win streak. Cleveland’s loss at Texas earlier in the evening means that Detroit’s magic number to clinch the division sits at one heading into Friday.
Detroit left two on in the first, then Max Scherzer served up three-run homer to David DeJesus in the bottom of the inning. Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington tacked on solo shots off Scherzer. Detroit’s lone run came on a Delmon Young solo blast.
Tigers’ MVP: On a night when not much went right, Young’s homer was a rare highlight. Detroit had some chances early on to get to Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy but failed to do so.
Tigers’ Goat: Scherzer just didn’t have his best stuff Thursday, continuing an up-and-down season. He’s 14-9 after this loss with an ERA in the mid-4s.
Where Detroit’s At: Any win by the Tigers or loss by the Indians between now and the end of the season will give Detroit the AL Central crown. As it stands now, the worst the Tigers could do is a one-game playoff with Cleveland.
So, clinching this thing is imminent. The big question heading into Friday is if Detroit will have to actually win it on the field. Cleveland plays at 8:10 p.m. ET in Minnesota — a loss there would wrap up the division, no matter how the Tigers fare starting at 10:05 p.m., in Oakland.
What’s Next: Doug Fister has allowed just three earned runs combined over his past five starts, going 4-0 in that stretch. He could be the one pitching Detroit to a division crown Friday night, when he battles Oakland righty Trevor Cahill, who dominated Detroit in April.