Minor League Notebook: 9/6

Labor Day commonly marks the unoffical end of Summer - but it also marks the final day of regular season play in minor league baseball. The Tiger minor league teams closed it out well though, finishing the day 2-1. And even more good news, 2 of the Tigers minor league clubs have qualified for postseason play, as Erie and West Michigan start up the playoffs on Wednesday.

AAA Toledo 65-78, 4th place in West division
The Mudhens ended their season with a loss, dropping their final game of the year to Columbus 5-3. James Baldwin took the loss, allowing 2 runs in 3 innings before leaving the game. Greg Norton was responsible for all 3 Tiger runs, as he went 2-for-3 with a Home Run and 3 RBI. Rich Gomez also scored a pair of runs for Toledo in the loss. The Mudhens freefall the final month of the season dropped them from first to last in the division, and that's where they'll close out the year as they did not qualify for the playoffs.

AA Erie 80-62, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves won their final regular season game, topping Trenton 5-4. Pedro Diaz got the start, but earned a no decision, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits. Chris Mears earned the win in relief, pitching the 9th inning to move to 4-1 on the year. Curtis Granderson drove in the game winning run in the bottom of the 9th on a sacrifice fly. Kurt Airoso and Chad Meyers each had a solo Home Run, and David Espinosa chipped in with 2 hits. Maxim St. Pierre also added 2 hits and an RBI.

The Seawolves have qualified for the Eastern League playoffs. They face Southern division champ Altoona. Their first game is Wednesday. Kyle Sleeth, who has elevated by default (about everyone else is injured) to the ace position, will make the start.

Low-A West Michigan The Whitecaps made it interesting, but on the final day of the season finally got the one win they needed, beating Cedar Rapids 9-2. Their win, coupled with a loss by Lansing, gave the Whitecaps the 2nd half division championship. Daniel Zell pitched his way to the win, giving up 1 run on 6 hits in 5 innings. He also struck out 4. The offense had been slacking in the final few games, but they turned it on when they really needed it. Kelly Hunt went 2-for-5 including a solo Home Run - giving him 21 Home Runs and 102 RBI for the season. Danilo Sanchez also went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI. Juan Llamas, who was just called up from Oneonta with their season over, drove in a pair of runs.

The Whitecaps also have qualified for the playoffs. They face Lansing, with their first game coming on Wednesday.


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