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Detroit Tigers capture 2011 AL Central title for first division pennant in 24 years

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Final - 9.16.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
Detroit Tigers 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 3
Oakland Athletics 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

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BOX

KEY STANDINGS


AL Central Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Detroit 88 63 .582 0 Won 1
Cleveland 73 75 .493 13.5 Won 1
Chicago 73 77 .486 14.5 Lost 6
Kansas City 66 86 .434 22.5 Won 6
Minnesota 59 90 .395 28 Lost 6

(updated 9.17.2011 at 1:16 AM EDT)


KEY STATS

Doug Fister dominated the A's in just 91 pitches. 8 innings with just 1 run allowed on a solo home run.

KEY PLAY

Don Kelly home run in the seventh! OK, bonus play: Don Kelly singled in the first Tigers run of the game as well in the third.

KEY VIDEO

The final out and Mario Impemba's call, from MLB.com

KEY THOUGHTS

That white space is me being speechless. Writing this recap during the Tigers' celebration in the locker room at the Coliseum is pretty much impossible. Seriously. You're supposed to be able to write something poignant in celebration of something that has been far too rare for Tigers fans. You wonder what you're going to say, and thnk about it, but decide to let the moment dictate what you say. Then the moment comes, and wow. Speechless. This is for real?

OK. Collecting myself here ...

It's only fitting that Doug Fister was on the mound for the first division-clinching game since 1987. The trade that brought Fister to Detroit at the July deadline should go down as one of the best in franchise history. Since a little bit of a hiccup in his first games, Fister's been nothing short of incredible. Tonight marked his sixth consecutive game allowing one run or less while going at least seven innings.

It was a team effort these past couple of months. You can celebrate pretty much every position player for their contributions. But that Fister trade was amazing. Bringing Wilson Betemit, who drove in the game-winning run with a sixth-inning triple, was as well. And bringing Delmon Young to Detroit in August was as well. Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski earned his extension with this club, that's for sure.

Twenty-four years. Twenty-four years. It's almost incomprehensible how much time passed between the Tigers' last AL East title in 1987 and their first AL Central title in 2011. Yes, they made the playoffs in 2006 and went all the way to the World Series and that was awesome in every way. But there's something kind of special about division championships in baseball that isn't there in the other sports.

Flags fly forever. 2011 AL Central Division Champions!

Poignant can wait. It's time to celebrate.