Tigers battle back, but drop 1 1/2 out of WC

Tigers battle back, but drop 1 1/2 out of WC

DETROIT -- A day after the Royals slowed the Tigers' playoff pursuit with a five-run rally in the ninth, they did their damage at the start, putting up a four-run opening inning Sunday and adding on from there before withstanding a furious Tigers comeback attempt for a 12-9 win at Comerica Park.

The Tigers' second straight loss dropped them 1 1/2 games behind the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card spot. It also dropped the Indians' magic number to one for clinching the AL Central as Cleveland comes to Detroit for a four-game series starting Monday.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zimmermann hoping to start next weekend

Tigers righty pitches three innings of relief in place of simulated game

Zimmermann hoping to start next weekend

DETROIT -- Jordan Zimmermann was scheduled to throw a simulated game Monday in one last attempt to work his way back into the Tigers' rotation. Instead, he found his way into a real game Sunday, and his three innings of relief could earn him a start in a must-win game in the season's final weekend. 

It was an odd turn of events in an odd game, a 12-9 Tigers loss that saw Detroit use four members of its April rotation in relief of Matt Boyd, who didn't join the rotation for good until July. But with the Tigers desperately seeking outs, it was the kind of low-leverage situation worth throwing Zimmerman into. 

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers embrace challenge final week brings

Detroit 1 1/2 games out of Wild Card, opens set vs. Cleveland on Monday

Tigers embrace challenge final week brings

DETROIT -- If the Tigers' topsy-turvy September has proven anything, it's the difference that just a few days can make on the outlook of the playoff race. As they enter the final week of the regular season, they have to hope the roller coaster continues.

They took the field at Comerica Park for the ninth inning Saturday afternoon with a seemingly firm grasp on the second American League Wild Card spot. As they left that same field about 25 hours later, their comeback attempt having fallen just short in a 12-9 loss to the Royals, they had dropped 1 1/2 games down in the AL Wild Card race.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Iglesias, Tigers mourn Fernandez's passing

Marlins star pitcher, 24, dies in boating accident

Iglesias, Tigers mourn Fernandez's passing

DETROIT -- A somber mood draped over the Tigers' clubhouse Sunday with the baseball world in mourning following the tragic passing of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.

"He's a guy that left everything behind him to make a dream come true, and for it to end so quickly like this, it's very sad," fellow Cuban and friend Jose Iglesias said before a 12-9 Tigers loss to the Royals. "That's a guy with a bright future."

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

V-Mart's slam jump-starts Tigers' rally

Detroit shows plenty of moxie as it chases Wild Card

V-Mart's slam jump-starts Tigers' rally

DETROIT -- Victor Martinez hit his fifth career grand slam Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park to spur a slew of Tigers rallies against the Royals, though they ultimately lost, 12-9, and lost ground in the American League Wild Card race.

Detroit is 1 1/2 games behind Baltimore for the second AL Wild Card spot.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boyd allows first four KC batters to hit for cycle

Tigers lefty only fifth pitcher since 1913 to do so without recording an out

Boyd allows first four KC batters to hit for cycle

DETROIT -- While Matt Boyd emerged alongside Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris in the Tigers' rotation, manager Brad Ausmus warned of the ups and downs young pitchers can take down the stretch. On Sunday, they downside hit Detroit hard.

One day after the Royals spoiled the Tigers' playoff pursuit by rallying off closer Francisco Rodriguez, they put up their offensive onslaught at the start. Kansas City's first four batters combined to hit for the cycle off Boyd in a four-run first inning in Sunday's 12-9 Tigers loss at Comerica Park.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Racing for WC, Tigers welcome Tribe for opener

Racing for WC, Tigers welcome Tribe for opener

CLEVELAND -- The Tigers have dominated the Indians over the past few seasons, but Cleveland has turned the tables this year. Now, the Tribe rolls into the Motor City with a chance to clinch an American League Central title outright in enemy territory.

The cards are certainly stacked in Cleveland's favor for the opener of a four-game series on Monday, when ace Corey Kluber will continue his AL Cy Young Award push at Comerica Park. That will present a tough challenge for Detroit, which would need to win the remainder of its final seven games, and have the Indians lose out, in order to clinch a share of the division crown.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maybin says Tigers should enjoy playoff race

Maybin says Tigers should enjoy playoff race

DETROIT -- The Tigers' clubhouse was near silent after Saturday's stunning loss to the Royals. Many players had left by the time Cameron Maybin returned to his locker.

It was Maybin who had to chase Paulo Orlando's game-tying double to the center-field wall. Afterwards, it was Maybin who set the tone for his teammates to pursue, as he has several times this season.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers can't hold late lead, fall out of WC spot

Tigers can't hold late lead, fall out of WC spot

DETROIT -- What looked like another step in the Tigers' charge toward the American League playoffs became a potentially costly stumble in the ninth, courtesy of a Royals rally reminiscent of last year. Eric Hosmer's go-ahead three-run homer punctuated a five-run ninth off Francisco Rodriguez, propelling Kansas City to a 7-4 win Saturday in front of a stunned Comerica Park crowd.

The loss ended Detroit's five-game winning streak and dropped the Tigers out of playoff position, with the Orioles beating the D-backs at night to take sole possession of the second AL Wild Card spot. With the Blue Jays' 3-0 win over the Yankees, the Tigers are two games out of the first AL Wild Card.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

K-Rod takes blame for not closing out KC

Tigers veteran closer lets two-run lead slip away, then allows game-winning HR

K-Rod takes blame for not closing out KC

DETROIT -- Francisco Rodriguez was still in full uniform as reporters waited to talk with him Saturday. He sat at his locker, trying to collect his thoughts, to process what had happened. 

He owns 430 career saves, more than anyone currently in a Major League uniform and fourth-most in MLB history. He has 71 blown saves along the way. Even after 15 seasons, the blown saves crush him. 

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers keeping Fulmer on regular rest

Rookie righty will face Indians on Wednesday

Tigers keeping Fulmer on regular rest

DETROIT -- Coming off his first win in more than a month, Tigers rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer is scheduled to make his next start on regular rest, manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday.

Fulmer allowed one run over seven innings during Friday night's 8-3 win against the Royals. He will pitch again Wednesday at Comerica Park against the Indians for the final time in the regular season. It will be his first start on four days' rest since Aug. 19, when he allowed a season-high six runs in 5 1/3 innings against Boston.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castellanos could return by end of next week

Tigers 3B playing in instructional league; Ryan dealing with broken rib

Castellanos could return by end of next week

DETROIT -- While the Tigers regained their double-play combination in Saturday's 7-4 loss to the Royals with Jose Iglesias' return to the starting lineup from a bruised right thumb, the final injured Tigers regular is creeping closer to a return to game action, and possibly a closing stretch in Detroit.

Nick Castellanos is expected to play in instructional league games in Lakeland, Fla., on Monday and Wednesday as he works his way back from a broken left hand that has sidelined him since early August. If those go well, he could be back with the Tigers by the end of the week.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' Norris delivers another solid start

Young lefty settles in, allows just two runs over 5 2/3

Tigers' Norris delivers another solid start

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus often says that about all that a manager can ask of his starter is to give his team a chance to win.

Daniel Norris did just that Saturday at Comerica Park, allowing two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings in the Tigers' 7-4 loss against the Royals.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers maintain 2nd WC with 5th straight win

Tigers maintain 2nd WC with 5th straight win

DETROIT -- The Tigers' transition from pursuer to pursued in the American League Wild Card race went swimmingly on Friday night. Victor Martinez, Justin Upton and Cameron Maybin all homered off Danny Duffy to provide an early lead for Michael Fulmer, who struck out nine Royals over seven innings for his first win in five weeks with an 8-3 victory at Comerica Park.

Detroit's fifth consecutive win maintained its half-game lead over Baltimore for the second Wild Card spot.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kinsler helps 'score' win in return against KC

Tigers second baseman logs 2 hits, 3 runs in series opener

Kinsler helps 'score' win in return against KC

DETROIT -- Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler returned to the lineup on Friday against the Royals as expected, with a new appreciation for the concussion protocol players have to go through to return to the field.

Kinsler went 2-for-3 with three runs scored in an 8-3 win at Comerica Park, exiting for a defensive replacement in the ninth inning with the game in hand.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fulmer changes things up, flusters Royals

Rookie righty glad to help Tigers maintain Wild Card spot

Fulmer changes things up, flusters Royals

DETROIT -- If he hadn't already, Michael Fulmer solidified his American League Rookie of the Year Award candidacy on Friday night with seven innings of one-run baseball in the Tigers' 8-3 win over the Royals.

The 23-year-old right-hander took the mound with the Tigers looking to maintain their half-game lead for the second American League Wild Card spot and he stepped up in a big way, logging seven strong innings with nine strikeouts. And the pressure of the playoff push doesn't seem to be a big deal for the poised youngster.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ordonez returns to Detroit for '06 anniversary

Tigers great and playoff hero is now mayor, baseball team owner in Venezuela

Ordonez returns to Detroit for '06 anniversary

DETROIT -- Far removed from his days of patrolling right field at Comerica Park and winning batting titles, Magglio Ordonez now has a little more responsibility. He is the mayor of the Juan Antonio Sotillo Municipality in eastern Venezuela. He also owns the baseball team Caribes de Anzoategui of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.

Ordonez took time to step away from his busy life to visit Comerica Park as a part of the Tigers' 10-year anniversary celebration of the 2006 American League Championship team. He will participate in a pregame Q&A session with fans and throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game against the Royals.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vote: Fulmer up for Best Rookie Award

Balloting open until Nov. 11 to reward game's elite

Vote: Fulmer up for Best Rookie Award

Voting is underway through Nov. 11 at MLB.com/awards to help decide who wins Best Rookie regardless of league affiliation, and all five of your candidates are currently playing key roles in pennant races: Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer, Indians center fielder Tyler Naquin, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Nationals center fielder Trea Turner.

The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters and fans like you at MLB.com.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers working Rondon into late-inning spots

Tigers working Rondon into late-inning spots

DETROIT -- The last time Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon pitched in a big game at Target Field with a postseason race in the balance, he helped clinch an American League Central title, striking out the middle of the Twins' lineup in order in the eighth inning on Sept. 24, 2013.

That was almost three years ago to the day. It was also his last outing that season. His elbow issues, which had sidelined him for three weeks before that, flared up again, and kept him out of the playoffs, a loss that haunted Detroit in the AL Championship Series amidst two Red Sox comebacks. Rondon had Tommy John surgery the following spring. 

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers take over 2nd WC with twin-bill sweep

Tigers take over 2nd WC with twin-bill sweep

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers rolled into Target Field on Thursday morning for a long day of work. They left town with an American League Wild Card spot in their grasp. Justin Verlander's six innings of work and Erick Aybar's two RBIs helped Detroit to a doubleheader sweep, capped by a 4-2 win in the nightcap.

The two victories, combined with an Orioles loss to the Red Sox, vaulted Detroit into the second Wild Card spot, taking a half-game lead. Detroit erased a three-game Wild Card deficit by winning its last four games, while the O's were swept by Boston. The Tigers won the season series by taking all nine games at Target Field, the first division foe to go unbeaten at Minnesota since the 1979 Rangers.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

J-Up's HR lifts Tigers to Game 1 win over Twins

J-Up's HR lifts Tigers to Game 1 win over Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Upton hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning on Thursday afternoon at Target Field before Victor Martinez's pinch-hit three-run homer in the ninth sent the Tigers on their way to an 9-2 win over the Twins to begin a day-night doubleheader.

The win moved Detroit within a half-game of Baltimore for the second American League Wild Card spot. A win in the nightcap and an Orioles loss Thursday evening would put the Tigers into the spot by themselves.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The postseason race today: Fulmer chases ROY

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The postseason race today: Fulmer chases ROY

With only 10 days left in the season, every game has the potential to alter the postseason picture. As we enter the final days of the stretch run, we'll spotlight the biggest moments that we know you won't want to miss.

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Cabrera gave a thumbs up to Buxton's impressive throw

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Cabrera gave a thumbs up to Buxton's impressive throw

Miguel Cabrera, two-time MVP and perennial All-Star, has used the 2016 season to fashion himself into MLB's foremost critic of great plays. His rating system is deceptively simple: A good ol' fashioned thumbs up, which he bestows upon only the most impressive feats he sees.

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Tigers aren't celebrating rise in WC standings

Verlander says club is staying focused on 'the next' game

Tigers aren't celebrating rise in WC standings

MINNEAPOLIS -- The visiting clubhouse at Target Field was far from celebration central for the Tigers on Thursday night like it has been in the past, when they clinched the American League Central title here a few years ago. No one was carrying manager Brad Ausmus in for a moonwalk.

Other than a mention of the standings, there was no sign that the Tigers -- having swept a doubleheader from the Twins after a 4-2 victory in the nightcap -- had shifted into the second AL Wild Card spot and a half-game lead over the Orioles.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

J-Up keeps showing knack for clutch homers

Tigers slugger belts go-ahead blast in Game 1 vs. Twins

J-Up keeps showing knack for clutch homers

MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Upton could feel the lethargy trapping the Tigers. They had to turn around from a Wednesday night rainout to a Thursday split doubleheader. Pat Dean, a spot starter forced into action from the Twins' bullpen, had hit his spots to keep Detroit's bats quiet. The intensity of a postseason race was tough to find.

"It was dragging a little bit," Upton said after his go-ahead homer put the Tigers up for good in a 9-2 win in Game 1. "We weren't really getting the bats going. But no matter how you get them, you've gotta get them."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Tiebreaker scenarios for Wild Card berths

As the 2016 season winds down the six divisions are pretty much decided. However, the two Wild Card races are completely up in the air, and there is a good chance we end up seeing at least one tiebreaker game played on Monday, Oct. 3.

With that in mind, here is a breakdown of the likeliest tiebreaker scenarios for the American and National League Wild Cards.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers tack on runs off WPs, intentional BBs

Tigers tack on runs off WPs, intentional BBs

MINNEAPOLIS -- While discussion continues on whether the intentional walk should be made automatic, without the need to throw the actual pitches, the Tigers are glad Twins reliever Pat Light still had to do it. They picked up an insurance run out of it.

"It doesn't happen very often," manager Brad Ausmus said after the Tigers' 9-2 win over the Twins on Thursday afternoon at Target Field. "But honestly, that's why I hope they don't change that rule, because it does happen from time to time."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.