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GAME OF THE DAY

Tigers End 19-Year Playoff Drought

September 25, 2006|From the Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Detroit Tigers had a 220-bottle champagne celebration Sunday, and they hope to have an even bigger one later this week.

The Tigers fought off their late-season slump and clinched their first playoff berth since 1987, scoring nine runs in the second inning Sunday and coasting to an 11-4 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Enjoying a turnaround season under new Manager Jim Leyland, Detroit assured itself of no worse than the AL wild-card berth and headed into the final week of the season with a 1 1/2 -game lead in the AL Central. The Tigers, who regained the best record in the major leagues at 94-62, went ahead early for the second straight day, following up on Saturday's 10-run first.

"We want to send a message that we're not happy just going to the playoffs," Tigers closer Todd Jones said. "We are trying to win our division."

Craig Monroe hit a three-run homer that gave Justin Verlander (17-9) an 8-0 lead.

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