Tigers clinch playoff spot

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The overwhelming odds are that the Tigers will win the American League Central, but they are now assured of at least a wild card.

The Detroit Tigers on Tuesday became the eighth team in the MLB to clinch a 2013 playoff spot by virtue of a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Detroit scored all four of its runs in the fourth inning. Victor Martinez and Omar Infante began the inning with back-to-back home runs and Austin Jackson added a two-run homer of his own later in the frame. Doug Fister pitched a nice game and of the eight outs the Detroit bullpen secured, seven came via the strikeout.

The Tigers now hold a 92-66 record, 4½ games ahead of the Indians in the AL Central. After Tuesday, the team's magic number is one, meaning another win or Indians loss will clinch the division for Detroit. Detroit had a shot to win the division on Tuesday, but the Indians beat the White Sox, 5-4, to stay in the playoff hunt in Cleveland.

This will be the third consecutive playoff appearance for the Tigers, who won the AL Central each of the last two seasons. Detroit made it to the 2012 World Series with series victories over the Athletics and Yankees to become AL champs. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were swept by the San Francisco Giants for the World Series crown. In 2011, Detroit was knocked out in the ALCS by the Rangers.

In addition, the Tigers have now officially made the playoffs in three consecutive years for the first time since they suffered World Series losses in each of the 1907, 1908 and 1909 seasons.

Led by Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers have scored the second-most runs and have the second-highest team OPS in Major League Baseball. And despite a slightly down year from Justin Verlander, both Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez have had excellent seasons, giving the team's starting rotation the third-best ERA in the majors.

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