Sunday's AL Capsules Print
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Sunday, 23 September 2007 12:09
MLB Headline News

 CLEVELAND (AP) -Jake Westbrook struck out a career-high nine and Grady Sizemore had four hits as the Indians, fourth-place finishers a year ago, clinched their first AL Central title since 2001 with a 6-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
The Indians became the second team in the majors to clinch. The Boston Red Sox assured themselves of at least the AL wild-card spot Saturday night.
When reliever Rafael Betancourt struck out Oakland's Mark Ellis for the final out and his second save, the crowd of 40,250 erupted as one and the right-hander jumped into catcher Victor Martinez's arms as the Indians poured onto the infield to celebrate.
Cleveland scored four runs in the fourth and opened a 6-0 lead against Dallas Braden (1-8).
Jhonny Peralta and Jason Michaels singled to open the fourth and both scored when Casey Blake, whose 11th-inning homer against Detroit on Monday sealed the Tigers' fate, hit a double.
Sizemore followed with an RBI triple and came in when Cabrera singled.
The six-run cushion was plenty for Westbrook (6-9), who allowed a two-run homer to rookie Daric Barton in seven innings and won for the first time since Aug. 28.
Devil Rays 5, Red Sox 4
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Struggling knuckleballer Tim Wakefield gave up a two-run homer to Delmon Young, and Boston lost to Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox, who clinched at least the wild-card spot Saturday, lead second-place New York by 1 1/2 games in the AL East.
Wakefield (16-12) entered 9-0 at Tropicana Field and 19-2 overall against the Devil Rays, but he gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings.
Tampa Bay, last in the AL East with a 64-92 record, snapped a five-game skid. Al Reyes pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save in 29 opportunities.
Edwin Jackson (5-15) had a one-hitter through five, but failed to get out of the sixth when Boston scored three times to pull to 4-3. David Ortiz and Coco Crisp had RBI singles, and another run scored when J.D. Drew walked with the bases loaded.
Yankees 7, Blue Jays 5
NEW YORK (AP) - Mike Mussina won his 250th game, backup catcher Jose Molina had three hits and three RBIs and Joba Chamberlain got his first career save as New York pulled within 1 1/2 games of Boston in the AL East.
New York overcame a 3-0 deficit and reached 90 wins for the seventh straight season, the third-longest streak in major league history behind the 1947-58 Yankees and 1904-12 Chicago Cubs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau,
The Yankees (90-65) won for the 14th time in 17 games and moved within one of the Red Sox (92-64) in the loss column. New York remained 5 1/2 games ahead Detroit in the wild-card race and lowered its magic number to two for clinching a 13th straight postseason appearance.
The Yankees broke through for three runs in the fifth off Dustin McGowan (11-10) on RBI singles from Robinson Cano, Doug Mientkiewicz and Molina.
Mussina (11-10) won his third consecutive start since he rejoined the Yankees' rotation, allowing three runs and seven hits in seven innings and improving to 23-11 against Toronto.
Tigers 7, Royals 2
DETROIT (AP) - Justin Verlander earned his 18th win, Marcus Thames homered twice and Detroit helped their dwindling playoff chances.
Moments after their victory, the Tigers were eliminated from the AL Central race when Cleveland beat Oakland to clinch the division title. The defending AL champions still have an outside shot at the wild card, but they need a New York Yankees collapse in the final week to reach the postseason.
Verlander (18-6) allowed two runs, five hits and two walks in six innings. He has 35 wins in his first two full seasons, the most for a Tigers pitcher since Frank Lary also had 35 from 1955-56.
Detroit scored four runs off Jorge De La Rosa (8-12) in the first and never looked back.
Billy Butler led off the Kansas City second with his eighth homer, but the Royals handed the run back when Ramon Santiago reached on an error by third baseman Alex Gordon and scored after another error by second baseman Jason Smith.
Twins 7, White Sox 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Kevin Slowey pitched seven strong innings, helping Torii Hunter go out a winner in what might have been his last home game for Minnesota.
Garrett Jones hit his first career homer, Michael Cuddyer drove in four runs and Slowey (4-0) struck out a career-high nine batters.
Chicago starter Gavin Floyd (1-5) struck out Hunter and got him to ground out to second base in his next at-bat, but Floyd gave up a single to the popular All-Star center fielder in the middle of a three-run rally by the Twins in the sixth inning.
Hunter scored behind Jason Kubel on Cuddyer's two-run single with the bases loaded that broke a 1-1 tie, and Brian Buscher stretched the lead with an RBI single two batters later.
Rangers 3, Orioles 0
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Kevin Millwood pitched seven scoreless innings for his 10th victory and Michael Young moved closer to another 200-hit season for Texas.
Millwood (10-13) scattered seven hits, struck out five, walked none and was helped by two inning-ending double plays. He has won all five of his starts with a 1.70 ERA against the Orioles in his two seasons for Texas - and is 7-2 in 10 starts overall.
Joaquin Benoit allowed two runners but pitched a scoreless eighth. C.J. Wilson took over in the ninth and got his 12 save in 14 chances in the team's sixth shutout.
Jon Leicester (2-3) threw his first complete game in his fifth major league start. Leicester allowed seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
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