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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

AL roundup

Tigers on the brink of elimination          Send a link to a friend

[September 25, 2007]  (AP) Detroit's defense of the American League pennant is all but over.

Carlos Silva shut down the fading Tigers, pitching the Minnesota Twins to a 2-0 victory Monday night that left host Detroit on the brink of elimination from the playoff race.

The 2006 AL champions are one loss, or a New York Yankees win, from being relegated to watching this postseason on television. The Tigers have lost five of seven, speeding up the seemingly inevitable conclusion to their season.

"I think it's kind of sad," pitcher Nate Robertson said. "A lot of people were enjoying our run."

With Roger Clemens on the mound, the Yankees can wrap up at least a wild-card berth by winning at Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. The Tigers face Minnesota again.

New York leads Detroit in the wild-card race by 5 1/2 games. The Yankees have six games remaining, the Tigers five.

The Yankees could have clinched a postseason berth Monday. They needed a win coupled with a Detroit loss, but the visiting Toronto Blue Jays beat Andy Pettitte (14-9) and New York 4-1 in the afternoon.

"We weren't anything offensively today," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Still, the Bronx Bombers found a way to have some fun. In their version of rookie hazing, the Yankees made their newcomers dress up in Wizard of Oz costumes for the bus ride to the airport and flight to Tampa Bay. There was plenty of hooting and hollering, and the rooks all posed for pictures.

Joba Chamberlain drew the Cowardly Lion, Edwar Ramirez was the Wicked Witch of the West and Ian Kennedy was Dorothy.

"I think I got the short end," Kennedy said, stepping into his sparkly, ruby red slippers.

In other AL games, it was Texas 8, Los Angeles 7; and Baltimore 3, Kansas City 2.

Another rookie, Jesse Litsch, allowed five hits over 7 2-3 innings to help the Blue Jays spoil New York's final home game of the season.

The Yankees fell two games behind idle Boston in the AL East. The loss was only their fourth in 18 games.

This was a makeup from an April 25 rainout and there were only about 12,000 people in the seats when the game started. Officially, there were 23,567 fans in Yankee Stadium by the end.

"It definitely felt like a makeup game," Pettitte said.

Because all 53,281 tickets were sold, this counted as the Yankees' 50th sellout of the year. That brought their season attendance to a record 4,271,356, breaking last year's mark of 4,243,780.

Litsch (7-9), who lost to the Yankees twice this season, started in place of A.J. Burnett, who left the Blue Jays for a day on what they described as "personal business."

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At Detroit, Silva (13-14) scattered six hits over 7 2-3 innings. Nick Punto's RBI single in the second and Jason Kubel's run-scoring single in the ninth provided all the offense for Minnesota, which has won five of seven.

The Twins had lost seven in a row against the Tigers, who were shut out for only the third time in 157 games this season.

Glen Perkins got the final out of the eighth with the potential tying run at second. Joe Nathan allowed two baserunners in the ninth but got Ivan Rodriguez on a groundout for his 35th save.

"We had a chance, but he's one of the best closers in baseball," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Robertson (8-13) took the loss despite giving up only one run and three hits over seven innings.

"There is not one guy here that is not going to show up until this is over," Detroit first baseman Sean Casey said.

Rangers 8, Angels 7

At Arlington, Texas, Marlon Byrd hit a go-ahead homer off Ervin Santana (7-14) in the fifth and the Rangers held on.

The AL West champion Angels remained at 92 victories, the same as Boston and Cleveland, the other division leaders who were off Monday.

A day after clinching their third division title in four years in their home finale, the Angels had trouble with Rangers right-hander Armando Galarraga in his first major league start.

Michael Young hit a three-run homer for Texas and finished with four RBIs.

Orioles 3, Royals 2

At Baltimore, Nick Markakis hit a tiebreaking homer off Gil Meche (9-13) in the eighth and the Orioles finished 7-0 against Kansas City, the sixth time in club history that Baltimore swept a season series from an AL opponent.

The game was a makeup of a rainout on April 15. The announced attendance was 15,769, but there were no more than a few thousand fans in the stands.

Kansas City trailed 2-1 in the eighth before Mark Grudzielanek tied it with his first career pinch-hit home run in 1,682 major league games. The drive came against Jamie Walker (3-2), who was making his club-record 80th appearance.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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