DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers’ once-cozy cushion in the American League Central is long gone.
If things do not go Detroit’s way on the final scheduled day, its season will be over.
The Tigers dropped into a first-place tie with Minnesota, looking listless Saturday night in a 5-1 loss to Freddy Garcia and the Chicago White Sox.
Detroit is in danger of becoming the only team in baseball history to be in first place on May 10 and stay atop a division until losing the title in the last week.
The Tigers had been alone in first place since play ended July 24 and had a seven-game lead less than a month ago. Minnesota hasn’t been in first – alone or tied – since May 14.
“If we don’t win, shame on us,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said hours before gametime.
“We’ve played 161 games and it’s amazing to see it come down to one day like this,” Detroit catcher Gerald Laird said. “If you’re not nervous, why are you even here?”