The Detroit Tigers clinched a last place finish in the AL Central for the first time since 2008 with a 4-3 walk-off loss to the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth when Neftali Feliz (3-4) came in to try and lock down his fifth save of the season.
The Tigers scored their leading run in the top of the inning when Rajai Davis led-off with a walk. Dixon Machado sacrificed him to second and James McCann, pinch-hitting for Alex Avila, followed with a double to bring home him home with one out. Anthony Gose and Ian Kinsler followed by striking out to end the threat.
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In Chicago’s half of the ninth Avisail Garcia led off with a walk. Tyler Saladino popped out on his sacrifice attempt but J.C. Shuck followed with a double to right to score Garcia and tie the game. Feliz got Adam Eaton on a pop-out to second then intentionally walked Jose Abreu to set the stage for Leury Garcia. His single in the hole at shortstop to the right of Machado scored Shuck and dropped the Tigers to their sixth loss in their last seven games.
There were a couple to be had on Saturday night. Justin Verlander pitched six innings and threw 121 pitches, striking out nine. Verlander gave up five hits and two runs as he finished the season strong. He appears to be ready to take back his role as ace of the staff in 2016.
Miguel Cabrera finished 3 for 4 in what will be his final game of the season. With Xander Boegarts going 0 for 4 against Corey Kluber and the Indians, Cabrera has locked up his fourth batting title in five seasons. He joins Ty Cobb and Harry Heilmann as the only Tigers to win multiple batting titles.
With the loss the Tigers locked down a top 10 protected pick in the 2016 June Amateur Draft.
Feliz’ failure to close out the game emphasizes the Tigers need to sign a closer in free agency in the upcoming offseason. The Tigers are tied for twelfth out of 15 American League teams in Blown Saves with 24.
The Tigers close out the 2015 season with a Sunday afternoon game in Chicago against the White Sox. One of next season’s contenders for the starting rotation, Daniel Norris (2-2) will start for the Tigers against Frankie Montas (0-1) for Chicago.