DETROIT -- The Tigers will have to wait to clinch a third consecutive division title, maybe until they hit the road for their final trip of the regular season. They were on the verge of reaching one repeat milestone Friday, though, crossing 3 million in attendance for the second consecutive season and the fourth time in seven years.
Friday's series opener against the White Sox drew a paid attendance of 39,643, pushing the Tigers season attendance at home to 2,999,876 with two home dates left. They'll cross the 3 million mark on Saturday.
The team entered Friday with a home attendance of 2,960,233, trailing only the Yankees among American League clubs. The Tigers were expected to draw enough fans Friday, despite a rainy forecast, to surpass 3 million.
The Tigers had long been expected to hit it coming off an American League title last year. Michigan's cold, miserable April took a toll on early attendance, but a seasonable summer helped more than make up for it.
The Tigers' average attendance of 37,952 ranked third among AL clubs entering Friday, trailing only the Yanks and Rangers.
"I'm amazed at the number of fans, I can't deny that," manager Jim Leyland said. "I can't believe it with the economy and everything, the way it's been here, things of that nature. I mean, it's mind-boggling to see this place packed every single night practically. We're very appreciative of that, and I'm sure at some point in my lifetime, I'll sit back and think about how good it was. But I'm not ready just yet."