Detroit, Oakland secure playoff berths with triumphs
AFPOAKLAND, California -- Detroit and Oakland secured Major League Baseball playoff berths with triumphs Monday, joining the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles in the American League title chase.
October 3, 2012, 12:06 am TWN
Miguel Cabrera smacked his 44th home run and Jhonny Peralta added a solo homer of his own to power the Detroit Tigers over host Kansas City 6-3 and clinch the AL Central division crown for the visitors.
Coco Crisp doubled in a run and scored on a sacrifice fly out by Brandon Moss to help host Oakland defeat Texas 4-3, clinching a playoff spot for the A's and moving them within one game of AL West leader Texas with two to play.
Two division crowns remain up for grabs with two days remaining in the sixth-month season and the playoffs starting later this week. Division winners will avoid a one-game opening showdown between the wildcard qualifiers.
Two-time defending American League champion Texas (93-67), losers in the 2010 and 2011 World Series to the National League winner, need only one win over Oakland (92-68) in their two remaining games to claim the AL West title.
The Yankees, 93-67, took a one-game lead over Baltimore in the fight for the AL East division lead with a 10-2 home victory over Boston while the Orioles fell to 92-68 by losing 5-3 at Tampa Bay.
The Tigers (87-73) ended the Chicago White Sox's hopes with their victory.
Peralta hit his homer in the fifth inning and Cabrera, chasing a rare statistical “Triple Crown” of league titles in homers and batting average plus runs batted in, took the homers lead with his 44th of the season in the sixth.
Detroit's Prince Fielder scored on an error later in the sixth inning and a bases-loaded double by Gerald Laird drove in three runs for a 6-0 lead and a late Royals' rally proved too little and too late.
At Oakland, the A's scored twice in the first inning on Josh Reddick's run-scoring single and a rare balk by Texas pitcher Stephen Drew.
Drew illegally stepped toward one base but threw to another, giving A's base runner Chris Carter an automatic one-base advancement from third base to home.
Texas equalized on a run-scoring single by Elvis Andrus in the third inning and a solo homer by Michael Young in the fourth inning.
Oakland regained the lead in the fifth inning when Crisp doubled to drive in Adam Rosales and scored what proved to be the deciding run on the sacrifice fly out by Moss.
Mike Napoli's solo homer in the seventh for Texas only trimmed the Rangers' final margin of defeat.