Magglio Ordonez hit a three-run double and the Tigers beat the Twins, 7-2, last night in Detroit to move closer to the AL Central title.
Eddie Bonine (1-1) pitched five effective innings after getting off to a rough start for Detroit, which increased its lead to three games over the Twins. The Tigers can clinch their first division title since 1987 with a victory in this afternoon’s series finale.
Ordonez’s second key hit in consecutive days broke it open in the fifth. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out against Carl Pavano (13-12), who responded by getting Miguel Cabrera to pop up. Ordonez followed with a drive to center to clear the bases and give the Tigers a 7-2 lead.
Ordonez also had a two-run double in the Tigers’ 6-5 victory Tuesday night that salvaged a split of the day-night doubleheader.
Pavano allowed seven runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He was 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five previous starts against Detroit this year.
Marlins 5, Braves 4 - Ricky Nolasco struck out nine straight in Atlanta and finished with 16 strikeouts - the most by a major league pitcher in more than two years - in visiting Florida’s victory.
Trying to make a late push for the NL wild card, the Braves rallied for two runs in the ninth inning and loaded the bases with two outs. But the game ended when Matt Diaz was thrown out trying to scamper back to third following a pitch in the dirt.
Atlanta has lost two straight with four games remaining and is four games behind Colorado in the NL wild-card race.
Nolasco’s consecutive strikeouts were one short of the big league record set by Tom Seaver for the Mets April 22, 1970, against San Diego. Nolasco’s streak ended with a leadoff double by Adam LaRoche in the sixth.
Rockies 10, Brewers 6 - Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki each hit a two-run homer, and host Colorado moved closer to a playoff spot with a victory over Milwaukee.
Yorvit Torrealba had three hits for the Rockies, including an RBI single. He also sprinted home on a wild pitch, one of two from Jeff Suppan (7-12) that allowed runs to score.
Padres 5, Dodgers 0 - Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a three-run home run in the third inning for host San Diego. The Dodgers, who have clinched a playoff spot, had their lead in the NL West cut to 2 1/2 games over the Rockies.
Phillies 10, Astros 3 - Now, the Phillies can rest and prepare to defend their World Series title.
Kyle Kendrick pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Pedro Martinez and host Philadelphia beat Houston to clinch its third straight NL East crown.
Angels 5, Rangers 0 - Matt Palmer combined with four relievers on a one-hitter for host Los Angeles.
Palmer (11-2) gave up a leadoff single in the first inning to Julio Borbon, walked two batters, and induced a pair of inning-ending double plays in his 13th and final start of the season. Darren Oliver struck out the side in the sixth. Jose Arredondo, Kevin Jepsen, and fellow rookie Rafael Rodriguez each pitched a hitless inning.
Royals 4, Yankees 3 - Joba Chamberlain lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his final tuneup for the postseason and was booed by fans at Yankee Stadium when he walked off during Kansas City’s win.
Giants 4, Diamondbacks 1 - Brad Penny (4-1) pitched his first complete game in more than four years, Eli Whiteside homered and host San Francisco beat Arizona less than two hours after the Giants were eliminated from playoff contention.
Indians, 5-1; White Sox, 1-0 - Eric Wedge’s final home game was like so many others this season: empty seats, a young lineup, and a loss.
Mark Buehrle pitched six shutout innings and Paul Konerko drove in the only run as Chicago beat Cleveland to split a season-ending doubleheader, ending Wedge’s seven-year managerial run at home with the Indians.
Pirates sweep Cubs, 4-0, 8-2 - Ryan Doumit had four hits and four RBIs to help Pittsburgh sweep host Chicago.
Jeff Karstens tossed five innings for the second victory by a no-name Pittsburgh pitcher over a high-priced Cubs starter on the day. A few hours before Karstens beat Carlos Zambrano, Charlie Morton threw a four-hitter in a win over Ted Lilly.
Nationals 7, Mets 4 - Justin Maxwell’s grand slam off All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez with two outs in the ninth gave host Washington its first win when trailing after eight innings.
Reds 6, Cardinals 1 - Laynce Nix hit a grand slam off John Smoltz (1-3), Bronson Arroyo (7-5) pitched into the ninth inning, and host Cincinnati beat St. Louis.
Mariners 7, A’s 0 - Ken Griffey hit a three-run homer in the first and Brandon Morrow (2-4) allowed one hit in eight innings for host Seattle.
Rays 5, Orioles 3 - James Shields (11-12) carried a shutout into the eighth as host Tampa Bay extended Baltimore’s losing streak to 13 games.