ChiSox makeup game could decide Central
Posted: Monday, September 29, 2008 5:12 pm
By: By The Associated Press
The AL Central is still up in the air and the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers are stuck in a game that means everything to one team and very little to the other.
The Minnesota Twins? They get to sit back and watch.
Minnesota and Chicago each won on what should have been baseball’s final regular-season day to remain within a half game of each other in the AL Central. That means Detroit heads to Chicago today for a makeup game, with a White Sox win setting up a one-game playoff with the Twins on Tuesday for the division crown.
“It’s kind of an ongoing joke that it seems like nobody wanted to win the Central, so this is kind of probably the way it should go down, going into a game tomorrow when the season’s supposed to be over,” Twins closer Joe Nathan said.
Scott Baker scattered four singles over seven shutout innings, pitching the Twins past the Kansas City Royals 6-0 on Sunday to preserve their half-game lead.
Backed by four double plays, Mark Buehrle led the White Sox to a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians.
Gavin Floyd will take the mound today for Chicago against a familiar foe — the Tigers’ Freddy Garcia, who won three postseason games for the White Sox in 2005.
“I’m sure the last thing those guys want to do is get on a plane, but they are professionals and if I was them and had to get on a plane and come here, I’m going to make it hurt,” said the White Sox’s Paul Konerko. “We better be ready to play.”
Elsewhere in the AL, the Yankees and Red Sox split a doubleheader. It was the Los Angeles Angels 7, Texas 0; Tampa Bay 8, Detroit 7 in 11 innings; Toronto 10, Baltimore 1; and Seattle 4, Oakland 3.
Coming off a 121-pitch outing, Buehrle (15-12) made his third start on short rest this season and his second in September.
Jhonny Peralta’s second-inning homer put Cleveland ahead.
But Bryan Bullington (0-2), starting because 22-game winner Cliff Lee was scratched with a stiff neck, couldn’t hold it — much to the Twins’ chagrin.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire tried to put some lighthearted pressure on his White Sox colleague Ozzie Guillen after the game.
“It’s up to them. It’s all on their shoulders now,” he said. “I don’t have to make a pitching move. I don’t have to pinch hit anybody tomorrow. It’s all on Ozzie’s butt, so go get ‘em Ozzie and let’s see what happens.”
Yankees 6-3, Red Sox 2-4
Mike Mussina became the oldest pitcher to win 20 games in a season for the first time, reaching the milestone in the opener of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park.
Xavier Nady hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3), who lost for the first time in eight decisions since July 28.
Jonathan Van Every drove in the winning run in the 10th inning of the nightcap for Boston.
Angels 7, Rangers 0
At Anaheim, Calif., the Angels posted their team-record 100th win, with Joe Saunders pitching six sharp innings and Mike Napoli homering in their final postseason tuneup.
Napoli went 3-for-3 and drove in four runs. He gave the Angels a 2-0 lead with a two-out RBI double in the second and his 20th homer off Kevin Millwood in the fifth.
Rays 8, Tigers 7 (11)
Ben Zobrist hit a go-ahead single in a four-run eighth and had a solo homer in the 11th, lifting the playoff-bound Rays to a win over the Tigers.
Edwin Jackson (14-11) gave up two runs over two innings, and Jason Hammell got the save.
Blue Jays 10, Orioles 1
Vernon Wells went 4-for-4, homered twice and had five RBI for visiting Toronto.
Jesse Litsch (13-9) gave up one run and three hits in seven innings.
Mariners 4, Athletics 3
At Seattle, Ichiro Suzuki had two hits and scored the decisive run for the Mariners.
After firing their manager and GM, Seattle became the first team with a $100 million payroll to lose 100 games and endured their worst season (61-101) since losing 102 games in 1983.