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Tigers clinch AL Central title

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Detroit wins its division for a third consecutive year

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers are the AL Central Division champions -- again and again and again. Celebrate, your 2013 title, Detroit.

Max Scherzer led the Tigers' 1-0 effort over the Twins with seven shutout innings. He struck out 10 and allowed two hits (and walked six but we can forgive him for that) in picking up his 21st and final victory of the regular season. With little help from the lineup, pitching was at a premium. Detroit's only run came at the top of the first when Austin Jackson led off with a triple and Torii Hunter drove him in. After that, nothing.

The bullpen did not drop the ball. Jose Veras and Drew Smyly bridged the game in the eighth, and Joaquin Benoit picked up his 24th save of the year to kick off the celebration.

The Tigers were favored to win the Central Division, and a whole lot more, before the season even started. But that doesn't mean it's a gimme. Just ask the World Series favorite (according to one sports magazine) Nationals about that. Or check with the Angels to see how many times they've made the playoffs since supposedly putting together a strong team in Anaheim. So, yes, the Tigers did what these Tigers did what they were supposed to do. But that alone is worth marveling at.

The Tigers are the third AL Central team to win the division at least three seasons in a row. The Indians did it first, actually winning it five in a row 1995-99 to inaugurate the division's existence. The Twins won 2002-2004. Since then, no team has taken three straight titles -- until the Tigers did it today.

The team can drink to its hearts' content tonight, for Thursday is an off day. The Tigers close out the season in Miami with a three game set. So, at least they'll be in the right place for a party.

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