MINNEAPOLIS — Max Scherzer earned his 21st win and the Detroit Tigers clinched their third straight AL Central title, beating the Minnesota Twins 1-0 on Wednesday night.
Torii Hunter’s single followed a leadoff triple by Austin Jackson in the first inning, and that was all Scherzer (21-3) and manager Jim Leyland’s Tigers needed to start the party.
Scherzer gave up two singles in seven innings. Jose Veras and Drew Smyly teamed up for the eighth and Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth for his 24th save in 25 tries.
A few dozen Tigers fans in attendance at Target Field cheered from their seats while Miguel Cabrera and his teammates mobbed Benoit in front of the mound after he struck out Josh Willingham to end the game.
Scherzer struck out 10 and lowered his ERA to 2.90, ensuring he’ll finish the season with the most wins in the major leagues.
Kevin Correia (9-13) took the loss.
Rays 8, Yankees 3 The New York Yankees failed to make the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years, getting mathematically eliminated during their loss to Tampa Bay.
Evan Longoria homered twice as the Rays won their sixth straight and lowered to three their magic number over Texas for clinching an AL wild-card berth.
Slowed by age and hobbled by injury, the Yankees (82-76) were chased with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning when Cleveland completed a 7-2 win over the White Sox.
Despite baseball’s highest opening-day payroll at US$230 million, the Yankees failed to claim one of the 10 playoff spots. Since starting the latest run of success in 1995, New York had missed the playoffs only in 2008.
David Price (9-8) ended a five-start winless streak, one shy of his career worst, and Longoria drove in four runs. Phil Hughes (4-14) allowed three early runs.
Rangers 7, Astros 3 Leonys Martin hit a three-run double, Ian Kinsler homered and the Texas Rangers kept pace in the AL wild-card chase, handing Houston its 12th loss in a row and team-record 108th defeat this season.
Texas completed a three-game sweep and finished 17-2 with 11 straight wins against their instate rival.
The Rangers remained a game behind Cleveland for the AL’s second wild-card spot — Tampa Bay is a game ahead of the Indians. Texas has four games left in the regular season, with the series opener at home against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.
Rookie left-hander Martin Perez (10-5) struck out eight over seven innings. Dallas Keuchel (6-10) took the loss.