Updated: October 5, 2009, 11:48 AM ET

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US Presswire

Rick Porcello and Scott Baker will square off Tuesday in the Metrodome to decide the AL Central.

Tigers-Twins need one more game
One more game.

For those sweating out a close race in their league, you'll have a couple of more days to stew about it.

When the Tigers' Justin Verlander did what he was supposed to against the White Sox, and the Twins predictably beat up on Luke Hochevar and the Royals, it created a one-game playoff Tuesday at the Metrodome for the American League Central title.

In most leagues, it's one more game to try to chase a title … or lose it. According to Major League Baseball Rule 33: "Any tiebreaker games shall count as a regular-season game. Statistics will count in official records."

So for those of you in many AL-only and mixed leagues, the season is not over. As far as ESPN leagues go, standard roto and season points leagues will have the stats count. The exception is in head-to-head play, as ESPN head-to-head leagues are finished.

The Tigers-White Sox tilt went off first, and Detroit put up three runs in the first two innings against John Danks, eventually building a 5-0 lead. They held on after Verlander allowed three in the eighth, as Fernando Rodney shut the door in the ninth with the tying run at the plate for a 5-3 win.

The much-maligned Magglio Ordonez went 4-for-4 with his first homer since Aug. 16, and this year's king of "quiet" production in the American League, Ryan Raburn, hit two bombs. In just 257 at-bats this season, Raburn hit .288 with 16 homers and five steals, while eventually being eligible at three positions.

The Twins answered by pouncing on Hochevar for a 7-0 lead after three and cruising from there. Jason Kubel and Delmon Young each went deep twice, and Michael Cuddyer added a 32nd homer to his comeback season.

Scott Baker gets the start at home for the Twins against the Tigers' Rick Porcello. Baker has a 6.75 ERA in four starts against Detroit this year, while Porcello has a 3.09 mark in four starts against Minnesota. Two of Porcello's past three outings have come against the Twins, with both being quality starts. Baker allowed no earned runs in five frames against the Tigers on Thursday.

Both pitchers have pitched well down the stretch, as Porcello has a 3.19 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over the past two months, while Baker has a 3.21 ERA and 1.15 WHIP since the All-Star break. They'll each get one more chance to make or break your season.

News, Notes and Box Score Bits
Franklin Gutierrez continued to show that it was a mistake he went undrafted in most ESPN leagues, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the Mariners' final game. For the season, Gutierrez hit .282 with 18 homers and 16 steals for the savvy owners who plucked him from the waiver wire. Those two RBIs helped back Felix Hernandez, who had a chance to make a big Cy Young statement Sunday and was cruising through six innings with just an unearned run before running into trouble in the seventh. He allowed the first two runners to reach and then score on a couple of grounders. Still, he did get win No. 19 when David Aardsma shut the door with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Jacoby Ellsbury did get his 70th stolen base of the year before being pulled halfway through the game to prevent injury. J.D. Drew hit two homers for the Red Sox before being pulled. Clay Buchholz scuffled for the second straight start for the Red Sox, giving up six runs in three innings.

Jayson Werth swiped two bags for the Phillies to give him 20 for the second straight season. In his major league career, Werth is 64-for-72 in stolen bases. It was not only his second straight 20/20 campaign, but Werth also went 30/20 thanks to his 36 homers. He won't be undervalued again on draft day next year.

Ben Francisco must have had himself on his fantasy team and desperately needed some steals on the final day, as he tried and was caught three times.

Prince Fielder left the park twice, and went 3-for-5 to finish just shy of .300 for the season. However, he did hit 46 homers and drive in 141 (sharing the NL RBI title with Ryan Howard) to ease that pain. He was also the only player in baseball to play in all 162 games, no small thing for those in head-to-head leagues.

• The Brewers' Mike Cameron suffered a sixth-inning concussion and left the game, but the free-agent-to-be said that it was minor and that he'd be fine.

Homer Bailey continued to finish strong for the Reds, with six shutout frames against the Pirates, striking out seven. With renewed velocity and a new splitter, Bailey went 6-1 in his final nine starts, with a 1.70 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings, setting himself up for next season.

Tim Hudson also finished strong, allowing one run in seven innings and striking out seven in a no-decision against the Nationals. Hudson posted a 3.61 ERA in seven starts after returning from Tommy John surgery, to set himself up for a good 2010.

• With Brian Fuentes resting for the playoffs, Kevin Jepsen recorded his only save of the season for the Angels. Ramon Troncoso got the save for the Dodgers in place of Jonathan Broxton for the same reason.

Chris Young went deep for the D-backs and at least provided some hope down the stretch that he could possibly get back to the kind of player he was his rookie season. In his final 101 at-bats, Young hit .287 with seven homers, although he went 0-for-2 on the base paths.


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Player Spotlight
Hitter of the night
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Technically, it was more like "hitter of the inning." A-Rod hit two homers in the sixth inning against the Rays, and his three-run shot and a grand slam gave him an American League-record 7 RBIs in one frame. The major league record is eight by Fernando Tatis, when he hit two grand slams in an inning in 1999. The two bombs also gave Rodriguez an even 30 homers and 100 RBIs on the year. That's even more impressive when you remember that he missed the first month of the season and didn't make his 2009 debut until May 8.
Pitcher of the night
Nelson Figueroa, Mets
The 35-year-old journeyman hurled a four-hit shutout against the Astros, striking out seven. One would think the Mets' plans for next year don't necessarily include Figueroa as a main cog in their rotation, but he filled the gaps created by injuries admirably this year, with a 4.19 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 58 innings in 10 starts. Sometimes you see some unlikely stat lines on the final day of the season, and this was one of those times.
Stat of the night: 3
That's the number of consecutive years -- a record -- that the season will go to 163 games for two teams. Joe Mauer and the Twins lost a one-game playoff just last year to the White Sox for the AL Central title, and the Rockies beat the Padres for the NL wild card in 2007.
They Said It

Josh P. (Atlanta): The Rockies seemingly have a gap at third, where Ian Stewart has not stepped up, and Garrett Atkins has stepped down. Do they go after anyone this offseason? Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick: Josh, my sense is that Atkins is gone and Stewart stays. I think it's a bit of a reach to say he hasn't "stepped up.'' He's 24 years old and he has 25 homers and a .790 OPS for a postseason club. Yeah, he hit .229, but he'll be better than that next year. He's the guy there long-term.



Monday's baseball chat schedule:
Buster Olney, 1 p.m. ET
Eric Young, 3:30 p.m. ET
Looking Ahead

• For complete postseason coverage, click here.