MINNEAPOLIS - Max Scherzer struck out 10 and the Detroit Tigers shut out the Minnesota Twins 1-0 at Target Field Wednesday to capture the AL Central Division title.
The first Detroit batter of the game scored, and then the Tigers rode Scherzer and the bullpen the rest of the way to a champagne-filled clubhouse.
The Cleveland Indians won earlier in the evening, so the Tigers needed the victory to clinch their sixth divisional title (including three AL East titles) and their third Central Division crown in the past three seasons.
Scherzer pitched seven strong innings, giving up just two hits among the 123 pitches he threw. Along with the 10 strikeouts, he also allowed six walks.
The Twins battled the Tigers tough all season, and did so again Wednesday night. Twins starter Kevin Correia fought toe-to-toe with Scherzer, pitching seven strong innings against the Tigers' potent lineup.
Correia threw 107 pitches, giving up the one early run on seven hits and no walks with one strike out. He deserved a better fate than the loss he received.
The Twins bullpen, like Correia before them, collectively kept the team in the game, but Twins batters couldn't muster enough hits to ever threaten the Tigers.
Scherzer picked up his 21st win of the season, and Joaquin Benoit came on in the ninth and retired the Twins in order to earn his 24th save for the 2013 AL Central Division champs.
Austin Jackson led off the game with a stand-up triple off the center field wall. Torii Hunter knocked him in with a single up the middle past Correia for a quick 1-0 lead.
NOTES: The win was Jim Leyland's 700th as Tigers' manager. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has 998 wins. ... The Tigers' starting pitchers now have 1,397 strikeouts, tops in the majors. ... Twins batters have 1,372 strikeouts on the season, the seventh-highest single-season total in major league history. They struck out three more times Wednesday. ... Minnesota's Ryan Doumit needs one more home run to be the eighth active catcher to reach the 100-homer plateau.