Tigers Win, But Playoff Hopes End

The Tigers pulled out a win, but thanks to the Yankees victory, the playoff hopes are over. Plus, what are Jim Leyland's future plans.

Jim Leyland wants to manage the Tigers at least two more seasons. Leyland said he will meet Monday with GM Dave Dombrowski to discuss a one-year extension to the original three-year deal he signed. It expires following the 2008 season.

"I'm not looking to go anywhere," said Leyland, who turns 63 next month, "I would like to drive away from here Monday afternoon with another year on my contract. And next year I would like to have another year on top of that." Detroit will have more organizational meetings next week to lay the foundation for winter roster remaking.

"So everybody knows there's no (lying) here, that is one of the topics," Leyland said of an extension. "We're going to get together and decide a little bit about my future. But there's been absolutely no discussion."

He said he is enthused about the Tigers' future and feels good about the situation. "I would venture to say that as long as Mr. (Mike) Ilitch is the owner, this club will operate pretty darn good," Leyland said. "We have a man at the top who is very flexible and a general manager that leaves no stone unturned. So we'll see how it works out."

TIGERS 9, TWINS 4 (5 innings, rain): Minnesota scored four in the first off rookie RHP Jair Jurrjens, and with LHP Johan Santana on the mound a Twins victory seemed as sure as nippy weather in the World Series -- a World Series the Tigers will be watching after New York beat Tampa Bay to clinch the wild card berth. But Detroit eked out three runs off Santana in the second, and a 1-hour, 18-minute rain delay after the third inning assured the two-time Cy Young award winner wouldn't be coming out for the fourth and Detroit rocked his replacement for six runs. The game was halted after a second rain delay in the top of the sixth. Mike Hessman blasted a solo home run on the second pitch of the bottom of the fourth and hit an RBI single in his second at-bat of the inning. RF Magglio Ordonez had a run-scoring single and was removed for a pinch-runner -- manager Jim Leyland's way of giving a near sellout crowd a chance to honor Ordonez's season.

--RHP Jair Jurrjens settled down to pitch two good innings after shaky command helped Minnesota score four off him in the first. Jurrjens walked three and gave up three hits in the first, including a three-run double to OF Rondell White on an 0-2 pitch. He had good stuff but poor command in the first before he began spotting his fastball better for the second and third innings. He was not allowed to return after the 1:18 rain delay, which came after the third.

--1B Mike Hessman has value as an extra player because of his power, manager Jim Leyland believes. Hessman plays against some left-handed pitchers, although Wednesday he did his biggest damage against a right-hander. Hessman hit the second pitch of the fourth for a home run and blooped an RBI single down the right field line the second time he came up in Detroit's six-run fourth. The 1:18 rain delay prompted Minnesota to keep LHP Johan Santana off the field when play resumed.

--2B Placido Polanco has four hits to go to reach his first 200-hit season. Polanco had a ground single to left in the fourth. He has three games left to get the four more hits.

--CF Ryan Raburn started over CF Curtis Granderson with LHP Johan Santana on the mound for Minnesota. Raburn had a single in the first and a two-run triple in the fourth as he continues to enhance his chances of making Detroit's roster next season.

--LHP Tim Byrdak pitched two scoreless innings of relief after the first rain delay, and Detroit's six-run fourth inning gave him his third victory of the season. Byrdak turned in four scoreless innings in his previous outing. He got off to a shaky start with two walks in the fourth, but a double play got him out of the inning. Byrdak was brought in to replace starter RHP Jair Jurrjens after rain interrupted the game for 1:18 following the third inning.

--RF Magglio Ordonez got treated to a nice standing ovation from the crowd in his last home at-bat of the season. Ordonez grounded a single to left in the fourth and was removed for a pinch-runner, a move manager Jim Leyland made just so the crowd could acknowledge his season. Ordonez has a career high in RBI (133) and seems poised to add the batting title to his accomplishments this season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 -- Pitchers who have won at least 17 games the year after they were named Rookie of the Year. RHP Justin Verlander is on the list, along with RHP Don Newcombe (Brooklyn Dodgers, 1950), LHP Herb Score (Cleveland, 1956), LHP Gary Peters (Chicago White Sox, 1964), LHP Fernando Valenzuela (Los Angeles Dodgers, 1982) and RHP Dwight Gooden (New York Mets, 1985).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's good for him to take a couple of days to play first, but not every day. Shortstop is his position. That's him. I think he can finish his career playing shortstop." -- C Ivan Rodriguez, on the notion that Detroit might be thinking of shifting Carlos Guillen from shortstop to first base next season.

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