Touch 'Em All: Hot Tigers in championship form

Tigers manager Jim Leyland greets Ryan Raburn.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland greets Ryan Raburn. (CHARLES REX ARBOGAST / Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 14, 2011

For the second straight game, the Detroit Tigers extended their winning streak to a length that no Detroit team had achieved since a world-championship season.

On Sunday, the Tigers had won their ninth straight. The last Detroit team to do that was the last one to win the world title, the 1984 Tigers.

On Monday night, in midsummer weather at U.S. Cellular Field, the Tigers tried to win their 10th in a row. The last Detroit team to do that was the '68 Tigers, who won 11 straight.

Not only did they get that 10th straight win, but they looked like another famous Tigers team - the 1934 pennant winner that set the franchise record for runs (958).

The Tigers beat the White Sox, 14-4. Ryan Raburn led the way with four hits, matching his career high, including a homer and double. He had four RBIs.

Raburn, a symbol of how his team has gotten better and better this season, wound up with the game ball. He caught a fly to right for the final out.

The last time the teams had met, eight nights earlier, the Tigers had won, 18-2. According to, these Tigers joined the '34 Tigers as the only teams in franchise history to score at least 14 runs in consecutive games against the White Sox.

In the 10-game winning streak, the Tigers have scored 84 runs. Speaking of 84, the '84 Tigers had a nine-game winning streak to begin and culminate the 35-5 burst to open the season.

This Tigers winning streak, like the 11-gamer in '68, began in early September and widened an already impressive first-place lead.

When this winning streak started, the Tigers led the White Sox and Indians by 51/2 games, and they still had six games left with each team. Now the Tigers lead both teams by 111/2 games.

The Tigers' magic number to eliminate the Indians is six and to eliminate the White Sox is five. When both those numbers get to zero, the Tigers will be Central Division champions.

Manager Jim Leyland, asked why things have come together, said: "Guys are really grinding out at-bats. Their concentration has been really good. I think they smell something. I think they want it. And they're working toward it. They've just got to work at it one day at a time."

Strangely enough, the Tigers for the next three nights might want to root for the Indians as they play the West-leading Rangers. The most important Tigers race now is to finish ahead of the West Division champion (the Rangers or Angels) and gain home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

The Tigers began the day five games behind the Yankees in the loss column for the league's best overall record and home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.

Manny Ramirez facing jail time

Former World Series MVP Manny Ramirez, who abruptly retired this year amid allegations of banned substance use, now is facing criminal prosecution on charges that he slapped his wife during an argument.

Ramirez, 39, could get up to a year in jail if convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery charges. He was released on $2,500 bail Tuesday after spending the night in the Broward County Jail, with little to say to a knot of waiting reporters.

"No, thanks," Ramirez said when asked for comment. "Let me see, where's my family?"

Ramirez hopped into a white Cadillac Escalade, driven by his sister, and was whisked away.

At a brief court appearance Tuesday, Ramirez was ordered by County Judge John Hurley to have no direct contact with his wife.

Carpenter signs deal with Cards

The St. Louis Cardinals and pitcher Chris Carpenter have agreed to a $21 million deal that will keep the former Cy Young Award winner with the club through the 2013 season. Carpenter said the two-year contract could be the final one of his career.

The 36-year-old righthander won the 2005 NL Cy Young Award, then missed most of the 2007 and 2008 seasons with a series of arm injuries. Carpenter is 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 30 starts this year heading into Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh.

Crank it up

It's already October for the Tampa Bay Rays, who have switched into playoff mode in a late push to overtake the sagging Boston Red Sox for the AL wild-card spot.

After losing four of five, Tampa Bay trailed the Red Sox by nine games on Sept. 2. The Rays have since gone 8-2 and after losing Tuesday are within 31/2 games of a Boston club staggering toward the finish. The key was a three-game sweep of the Red Sox over the weekend, capped by a 9-1 rout on Sunday.

"Everyone has stepped up and contributed to this run," Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon said. "Now we have to keep it going."

- Staff and wire reports

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