YESTERDAY AT THE RACES: Sept. 29
The baseball world focused on Chicago on Monday afternoon as the White Sox hosted the Tigers.
A rainout on Sept. 13 brought the two teams together because of Chicago's half-game deficit in the AL Central, and the White Sox victory forged a tie with the Twins in the AL Central. That forced a one-game tiebreaker Tuesday night at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field.
"I don't think you ever expect a one-game playoff," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "It's an oddity. We are just scrapping, fighting and trying to get to where we want to go."
The White Sox trailed by a run until the bottom of the sixth, when they tied it on a wild pitch and Alexei Ramirez delivered the big blow. The rookie second baseman hit a grand slam off Tigers reliever Gary Glover, handing Armando Galarraga the loss while White Sox starter Gavin Floyd picked up the win.
"I've had 10 or 11 at-bats where I haven't hit the ball really well," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "But I told [manager] Ozzie [Guillen], 'Have confidence in me. I'm going to go out there and get those runners home somehow.'"
Ramirez's slam was his fourth this season, which set a new Major League record for rookies, and it tied Albert Belle for the franchise mark. It was also the 12th grand slam by the White Sox this season, establishing a new team record.
"When he hit that grand slam, we knew right there, 'OK, we got this one,'" Konerko said.
AL EAST -- Rays clinched division title
Carl Crawford played in an instructional league game on Monday and experienced no pain in his right middle finger. Crawford was 0-for-4, but also was hit by a pitch, stole a base and scored a run. The left fielder is hoping to be included on the playoff roster.
AL CENTRAL -- Twins and White Sox tied
White Sox 8, Tigers 2:
Alexei Ramirez drilled a sixth-inning grand slam and the White Sox had plenty to forge a tie with the Twins in the AL Central and force a one-game playoff. It was the fourth slam this season for Ramirez. Gavin Floyd allowed two runs, one earned, over six innings to pick up the win.
Nick Blackburn will be getting Tuesday's start over Kevin Slowey, who has a sore right wrist. Blackburn will be going on five days' rest while Chicago left-hander John Danks will be pitching on three days' rest.
AL WEST -- Angels clinched division title
Francisco Rodriguez finished the season with a record 62 saves in 69 opportunities and also made a career-high 76 appearances. After hitting .246 through May 31, Vladimir Guerrero ended with a .303 average and 27 homers. Guerrero joined Lou Gehrig as the only two players to hit at least .300 and have at least 25 homers for 11 straight seasons.
AL WILD CARD -- Red Sox clinched Wild Card
The Red Sox held a rally at Fenway Park on Monday with manager Terry Francona and players Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay in attendance. The local band Quest took part in the festivities.
NL EAST -- Phillies clinched division title
The Phillies have advanced to their second straight postseason and 11th overall as a franchise. The club is looking to play in its first World Series since 1993 and earn its second World Series title, matching the 1980 crown.
NL CENTRAL -- Cubs clinched division title
Lou Piniella's Cubs won 97 games, second only to his 2001 Seattle Mariners that won a record 116 games. Piniella will be making his 12th trip to the postseason and seventh as a manager. The 65-year-old won World Series titles in 1977 and 1978 as a player on the Yankees and in 1990 as manager of the Reds.
NL WEST -- Dodgers clinched division title
The Yankees won't be making a trip to the postseason, but their former manager will. Joe Torre guided the Yankees to the playoffs in the last 12 seasons and won four World Series. The Dodgers will be Torre's third playoff team. He also managed the NL West champion Atlanta Braves in 1982.
NL WILD CARD -- Brewers clinched Wild Card
Brewers manager Dale Sveum spent 12 seasons in the Majors, five with the Brewers. Milwaukee drafted Sveum in the first round in 1982 and he reached the big club in 1986. He clubbed a career-high 25 homers in 1987 and drove in 95 RBIs.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.