Cabrera's historic chase paces Tigers title

John Rieger/US Presswire

Miguel Cabrera hit his 44th homer on Monday to help the Tigers clinch the AL Central.It took 160 games, but the Detroit Tigers finally rewarded their fans with a second straight playoff appearance after clinching the AL Central with a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.

This is the Tigers fifth division title since divisional play began in 1969 and the 14th postseason appearance all-time for the franchise.

It is the first time since 1934-35 that Detroit has made the postseason in back-to-back seasons. The only other consecutive postseason appearances in franchise history came when the team made three straight from 1907-09.

Miguel Cabrera continued his historic Triple Crown pace, going 4-for-5 with his AL-leading 44th home run. His 44 homers are tied with Hank Greenberg (1946) and Cecil Fielder (1991) for the fourth-most in a single season in Tigers history. Greenberg set the franchise record with 58 dingers in 1938.

203 H, 44 HR, 137 RBI, 40 2B
Single Season in MLB History

Cabrera currently has the outright lead in all three Triple Crown categories. The last player to win the Triple Crown while having sole possession of first place in each of the three stats was Frank Robinson of the Orioles in 1966.

Three of Cabrera's four hits, including his home run, were to right field. It's the first time since 2008 he's had three opposite-field hits in a game and the fourth time overall in his career.

His 44th homer came on a pitch on the outer third of the plate, marking just the sixth time this season he has homered on a pitch away. Three of those six longballs have come since September 15, and he is now hitting .368 and slugging .947 on outside pitches since that date. Prior to the middle of September, he had a .244/.398/.325 line in at-bats ending in those pitches.

Rick Porcello snapped an eight-start winless streak with his five-inning, one-run effort and won his 10th game of the year. He is the sixth pitcher since 1900 to post at least 10 wins in each of his first four MLB seasons before his age 24 season (age as of June 30).

The others to do this were Chief Bender (1903-06), Bert Blyleven (1970-73), Dennis Eckersley (1975-78), Dwight Gooden (1984-87) and CC Sabathia (2001-04).