Quick hits: Tigers avoid sweep

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– The Tigers avoided a three-game sweep
at the hands of the surging Twins with a 6-2 win on Sunday afternoon.
Nate Robertson allowed two runs over five innings, while Placido
Polanco went 2-for-3 with three RBI. The Tigers now sit three games in
front of the Twins with 13 games to go. They aren’t quite out of the
woods yet, as the clubs will meet for a three-game series Sept. 28-30.




– If the Twins are going to jump the Tigers in the standings, they are going to have to do it without the services of Joe Crede.
Battling pain in his lower back since August, Crede will undergo
surgery to clean up fluid from a herniated disk next week. It will be
the third surgery Crede has had on his back in the past three years.
Limited to just 90 games this
season, Crede batted .225/.289/.414 with 15 homers and 48 RBI in 333
at-bats. Though there have been whispers about retirement, the
31-year-old third baseman and impending free-agent has no plans to hang
it up.




– It looks like Michael Young may have jumped the gun when he unexpectedly returned to the lineup
against the Athletics last Tuesday. His season is now in jeopardy after
he re-aggravated his left hamstring during a second-inning at-bat.
It’s just the latest bad news for
the Rangers, who now sit 7 1/2 games out of first-place after dropping
two out of three to the Angels this weekend. With a
.322/.375/.523 line to go along with 22 homers and 67 RBI, Young has been the
Rangers’ most valuable player this season.




– Shocking news, as Giants prospect Angel Villalona has been detained in connection to a murder
in the Dominican Republic. Villalona, 19, is the prime suspect in the
shooting death of a 25-year-old man. According a report by the
Associated Press, he will appear in court on Monday and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. Villalona batted .267 with nine home runs
and 42 RBI in 74 games with Class A San Jose before being shut down
with a quad injury in July. Villalona, who was ranked as the No. 33
prospect in baseball by
Baseball America, was signed to a team record $2.1 million signing bonus in 2007.

– And finally, the Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the rest of the season. Yeah, he doesn’t like Chicago very much. Got news for ya, the feeling is mutual.

Marlins defeat the Mets, then pay their respects to Jose Fernandez on the pitcher’s mound

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Miami Marlins players all wearing jerseys bearing the number 16 and name Fernandez honor the late Jose Fernandez before the game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The Marlins were somehow able to muster up the strength not only to play Monday night’s game against the Mets, but also win it convincingly one day after losing Jose Fernandez in a tragic boating accident. The Marlins and Mets helped pay tribute to Fernandez prior to the start of the game as outlined here.

When the game started, the Marlins came out of the gate with a bang. Dee Gordon homered in his first at-bat, then the club hung a four-spot in the second inning. They tacked on two more in the third inning to chase starter Bartolo Colon and take a commanding 7-0 lead. The Mets chipped away for two runs in the fifth on an Asdrubal Cabrera two-run homer and tacked on one more in the eighth, but ultimately fell short by a 7-3 margin.

Gordon finished 4-for-5 with the homer and two RBI. Justin Bour went 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple, and a walk along with an RBI and two runs scored.

A.J. Ramos, who closed out the win, placed the ball on the pitcher’s mound for Fernandez. The Marlins huddled around the mound and said a prayer. The players huddled closer to the rubber on the mound, then left their hats behind as they retreated to the clubhouse as fans at Marlins Park chanted, “Jose, Jose, Jose.”

In a post-game interview, Gordon called his first-inning home run “the best moment of my life,” as NBC 6 Sports reports.

Indians defeat Tigers, clinch AL Central for first division title since 2007

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 7: Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians hits an RBI single during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Progressive Field on September 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Indians beat the Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park on Monday night, clinching the AL Central for their first division title since 2007. Starter Corey Kluber lasted only four innings before exiting with right groin tightness, but the Indians were able to overcome the adversity.

Coco Crisp gave the Indians their first two runs with a two-run home run in the second inning off of starter Buck Farmer. The Tigers would promptly tie the game on a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the bottom half of the inning.

In the fifth, an RBI double by Jason Kipnis and a sacrifice fly by Mike Napoli put the Tribe back on top 4-2. The Tigers answered once again with a Miguel Cabrera RBI single in the bottom half to make it 4-3.

Roberto Perez homered for the Indians in the top of the top of the seventh, and Cabrera answered with another RBI single in the bottom half to keep it within one run at 5-4.

The Indians tacked on another insurance run in the eighth on three consecutive two-out singles by Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Perez. Carlos Santana then hit what should have been the final out of the eighth inning, but J.D. Martinez botched the catch, allowing the Indians’ seventh run to score.

Cody Allen shut the Tigers down in the bottom of the ninth, protecting the 7-4 lead for his 30th save of the season.

The last time the Indians won the AL Central, their starting lineup featured a 28-year-old Victor Martinez, a 25-year-old Jhonny Peralta, a 24-year-old Grady Sizemore, and a 26-year-old CC Sabathia. It’s been a long time.

The American League playoff picture still isn’t set yet, so the Indians will be intently watching the final week of the season to see who will be their playoff opponent.