Tigers top Twins, finish season with big win

Posted: Monday, September 29, 2003

DETROIT Mike Maroth and the Detroit Tigers went out as winners.

The Tigers avoided the 1962 New York Mets' modern-day record for losses, finishing their best six-game stretch of the season with a 9-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

Detroit (43-119) used a seven-run sixth inning to win for the fifth time in six games, allowing the expansion Mets (40-120) to keep the unwanted distinction of having the most losses since 1900.

With the 18,959 fans at Comerica Park standing and cheering, and Kool & the Gang's ''Celebration'' playing after the final out, the Tigers players hugged each other on the field as the scoreboard flashed ''Victory!''

Maroth (9-21), the first pitcher since 1980 to lose 20 games, gave up two runs on eight hits and a walk to win for the third time in four starts.

Adam Johnson (0-1) allowed six runs on six hits and got only one out in relief.

Yankees 3, Orioles 1

NEW YORK David Wells earned his 200th win and was pulled by manager-for-a-day Roger Clemens as the Yankees ended their regular season with a victory.

Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer and Drew Henson got his first major league hit for the Yankees, who begin the playoffs Tuesday afternoon at home against Minnesota.

Devil Rays 3, Red Sox 1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Bill Mueller won his first batting title with the lowest average for an AL champion in 31 years as Boston lost to Tampa.

Mueller went 0-for-1, grounding into a forceout as a pinch hitter, finishing at .326. The last time the AL champion had an average that low was when Minnesota's Rod Carew hit .318 in 1972. It was also the lowest average for a batting champion in either league since Atlanta's Terry Pendleton hit .319 to win the NL title in 1991.

Brandon Lyon (4-6) took the loss for Boston (95-67), which is headed to the playoffs as the AL wild card and will play Oakland starting Wednesday.

White Sox 5, Royals 1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Esteban Loaiza took a no-hit bid into the seventh and won the AL strikeout title in what might have been Jerry Manuel's final game as Chicago manager.

Loaiza (21-9) didn't allow a hit until Julius Matos doubled with two outs in the seventh. He struck out eight to finish with an AL-leading 207, one ahead of Boston's Pedro Martinez and three in front of Toronto's Roy Halladay.

Blue Jays 6, Indians 2

TORONTO Carlos Delgado hit a grand slam and finished the season with a major league-leading 145 RBIs.

Delgado, who hit four home runs Thursday night, hit his 42nd homer in the first off Cliff Lee (1-1). It was his second grand slam of the season, and ninth of his career.

The Blue Jays, who set a preseason goal of 85 victories, finished with 86. The Indians went 68-94, their worst record since going 57-105 in 1991.

Mariners 9, Athletics 3

SEATTLE Jamie Moyer set a club record with his 21st victory as Seattle completed a series sweep over AL West champion Oakland.

Moyer (21-7), an All-Star for the first time this season, pitched six innings and gave up three runs two earned on seven hits.

Angels 4, Rangers 1

ANAHEIM, Calif. Scott Spiezio hit a tiebreaking two-run single and Barry Wesson hit his first major league homer as defending World Series champion Anaheim ended its dismal season.

Anaheim's 77-85 record was 22 games worse than last season, when the Angels set a franchise record with 99 victories and won their first World Series title.

Braves 5, Phillies 2

PHILADELPHIA The road to the World Series in the National League will go through Turner Field.

The NL East champion Atlanta Braves clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 5-2 victory Sunday over the Philadelphia Phillies in the final game at sold-out Veterans Stadium.

Pirates 3, Cubs 2

CHICAGO Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou got the day off, and most of the Chicago Cubs' regulars played only briefly as the NL Central champions closed the regular season with a loss to Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, wrapping up its 11th straight losing season, broke a 2-2 tie on Jack Wilson's solo homer in the seventh.

Astros 8, Brewers 5

HOUSTON Jeff Bagwell homered twice and drove in four runs as Houston beat Milwaukee.

The Astros' victory came a day after they were eliminated in the NL Central race. Houston spent much of the season in first place, but lost six of its last nine and finished behind the Chicago Cubs.

Marlins 4, Mets 0

MIAMI Mike Lowell went 1-for-4 with a double in his return from a broken hand after a four-week absence as playoff-bound Florida beat New York in its final regular-season game.

Dontrelle Willis (14-6) allowed three hits over five innings as he tuned up for Game 4 of the playoffs against San Francisco.

While Florida (91-71) won the NL wild card and is headed to the playoffs for the first time since it won the 1997 World Series, the Mets finished last in the NL East for the second straight season. New York's 66-95 record was its worst since going 59-103 in 1993.

Expos 2, Reds 1

CINCINNATI Brian Schneider hit a two-run double and six Montreal pitchers made it stand up as Montreal beat Cincinnati.

The Expos (83-79) matched their win total from last season while finishing fourth in the NL East.

Cardinals 9, Diamondbacks 5

PHOENIX Albert Pujols went 2-for-5 to win the closest NL batting race in NL history, barely holding off Todd Helton as the St. Louis Cardinals beat Arizona.

Pujols finished at .3587 while Helton hit .3585 for Colorado a difference of .00022 that was so slight one more hit would've won it for the Rockies' star.

Pujols is the youngest player to win the NL batting title since Tommy Davis of Los Angeles in 1962. The St. Louis star is 23 years, 255 days and Davis was 23 years, 196 days.

Rockies 10, Padres 8

SAN DIEGO Colorado beat San Diego in the final baseball game at Qualcomm Stadium, and Todd Helton was denied a last shot at the batting title when he was intentionally walked by Rod Beck in the eighth inning.

Giants 12, Dodgers 3

SAN FRANCISCO Barry Bonds had two hits and drove in a run while preparing for the playoffs as the San Francisco Giants ended the regular season with their 100th victory, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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