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Detroit Tigers wrap up division crown

A statue of late M’s broadcaster Dave Niehaus resides in right-center field on the main concourse at Safeco Field. (Associated Press)
A statue of late M’s broadcaster Dave Niehaus resides in right-center field on the main concourse at Safeco Field. (Associated Press)

Newcomer Doug Fister pitched the Detroit Tigers to the A.L. Central title on Friday night, beating the Oakland Athletics 3-1 to secure the club’s first division title in nearly a quarter-century.

Fister (9-13) retired 17 straight during one stretch to win his third straight start and fifth consecutive decision, and Wilson Betemit hit a go-ahead triple off Trevor Cahill (11-14) in the sixth. Don Kelly hit a solo home run in the seventh.

Detroit is headed to the playoffs for the first time since winning the A.L. wild card in 2006 and losing to St. Louis in the World Series.

The Tigers (88-63) had not finished on top since winning the A.L. East in 1987, three years after their last World Series championship.

Niehaus in bronze

With his grandkids crawling all over his bronzed likeness, the Seattle Mariners honored late Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus with the first statue in franchise history.

The sculpture sits on the right-field concourse of Safeco Field and the radio booth where Niehaus called hundreds of games serves as the backdrop.

“When I first saw the pictures of the clay version of this amazing statue, I cried with a smile on my face,” Niehaus’ widow, Marilyn, said during Friday’s ceremony honoring her husband who died last November of a heart attack.

Collins backs off

Manager Terry Collins softened his criticism of the Mets on Friday, one day after saying his team “folded it up” in an ugly homestand.

The Mets took a six-game losing streak into Friday night’s game against the Braves. New York lost eight of nine in a homestand that ended with Thursday’s 10-1 loss to Washington.

“These guys are proud and nobody likes to play the way we did the last homestand,” Collins said.

New York pounded Atlanta 12-2.

Clearing the bases

Twins catcher Joe Mauer is likely to miss the rest of the season after being diagnosed with a mild case of pneumonia. Mauer received the diagnosis at the Mayo Clinic on Thursday and doctors recommended medication and two weeks’ rest. The regular season ends Sept. 28. … Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will miss the rest of the season after aggravating a left rib cage injury. … Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, out since May with a bruised elbow, will have arthroscopic surgery Monday to reduce a spur on his right elbow and remove loose chips. Broxton pitched just 12 2/3 innings this season, when he made $7 million.