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The Detroit Tigers lowered their magic number to two in the AL Central with an exhilarating 7-6 come-from-behind victory in 12 innings against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.
Entering the home half of the ninth trailing 6-0, it felt like a lost cause for Detroit. But there was one silver lining. It was the first time they didn't see Chris Sale — 7 2/3 scoreless — throwing warm-up pitches. Relieved that the Cy Young candidate was gone, Detroit went to work quickly on reliever Nate Jones, scoring five runs in the inning before an out was recorded or a pitching change could be made. Andy Dirks capped that portion of the rally with a three-run homer.
Later in the inning, Detroit pushed one run across on Torii Hunter's sacrifice fly to force extra innings. In the 12th, Detroit finally broke through with the game-winner on Omar Infante's RBI infield single.
The great comeback was a true rarity for Detroit. In fact, according to STATS, it's the first time the Tigers have won after trailing by six in the ninth since Aug. 22, 1947. On that day, they defeated the Washington Senators (now called the Minnesota Twins) 7-6.
Andy Dirks was not alive then, but he was still excited to be a part of Saturday's win.
''All year we've battled,'' Dirks said. ''We always say it doesn't matter if we're down or we're up, we're going to keep on grinding out at-bats and try to win the game no matter what.''
The Tigers can clinch the division at home with a win Sunday afternoon. They also would need help from the Houston Astros, who will be playing at Cleveland at the same time. That could make for a wild afternoon.
Cobb delivers for Rays: Right-hander Alex Cobb gave the Rays exactly what they needed less than 12 hours after playing the longest game in franchise history. In 8 1/3 innings, Cobb held the Orioles to one run while striking out 12 in the Rays 5-1 victory. Desmond Jennings, who was scratched from Friday’s lineup but ended up playing nine innings anyway in the 18-inning affair, connected for his 14th home run and a triple, driving in four runs.
Indians 4, Astros 1: Cleveland holds steady in the wild-card standings behind seven shutout innings from Scott Kazmir.
A's 9, Twins 1: Surrounded by sewage, Oakland lowers their magic number to one in the AL West.
Rangers 3, Royals 1: Right-hander Matt Garza finally had his breakthrough performance for Texas. The win keeps the Rangers a half-game behind Cleveland for the second wild-card position.
Pirates 4, Reds 2: After a potentially devastating loss on Friday night, Pittsburgh bounced back to reclaim the top spot in the wild card. A.J. Burnett led the way with seven innings of two-run ball, striking out 12.
Cardinals 7, Brewers 2: Matt Carpenter broke Stan Musial's single-season team record for doubles with his 54th. The Cardinals still lead the Central by two games.
Yankees 6, Giants 0: Right-hander Ivan Nova went the distance for his second career shutout. Alfonso Soriano added his 17th home run since joining New York in July.
Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 2: First loss of the season for Clay Buchholz, who falls to 11-1.
Cubs 3, Braves 1: Atlanta's magic number in the NL East remains at one.
Marlins at Nationals ppd. (rain): A day-night doubleheader is scheduled for Sunday.
Mets 5, Phillies 4 (7 inn.): All-Star David Wright homered for the second straight game off the disabled list.
Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 2: Three hits apiece for Gerardo Parra and Chris Owings.
Dodgers 4, Padres 0: Another ho-hum Clayton Kershaw outing — seven scoreless with 10 strikeouts. He'll enter his final start of the season against Colorado with a 1.88 ERA.
Angels 6, Mariners 5: Collin Cowgill homered and stole home for Los Angeles.
''To know that you have done something, took a record from (Musial) or broke a record that he held, you can't put it into words. It is pretty amazing. It is something I am extremely proud of and definitely a cool thing.''
— Matt Carpenter
Matt Holliday walks into the sunlight at Miller Park.
• Raul Ibanez hit his 29th home run of the season, tying Ted Williams for the most by a player in his age 41 season or later. It also was the 300th of his career.
• The Mets have shut down rookie right-hander Zack Wheeler for the remainder of the season.
• Billy Hamilton is scheduled to make his second start for Cincinnati on Sunday.