MINNEAPOLIS — Max Scherzer earned his 21st win and the Detroit Tigers clinched their third straight AL Central title, beating the Minnesota Twins 1-0 on Wednesday night.
Torii Hunter's single followed a leadoff triple by Austin Jackson in the first inning, and that was all Scherzer (21-3) and manager Jim Leyland's Tigers needed to start the party.
Scherzer gave up two singles in seven innings. Jose Veras and Drew Smyly teamed up for the eighth and Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth for his 24th save in 25 tries.
A few dozen Tigers fans in attendance at Target Field cheered from their seats while Miguel Cabrera and his teammates mobbed Benoit in front of the mound after he struck out Josh Willingham to end the game.
Scherzer struck out 10 and lowered his ERA to 2.90, ensuring he'll finish the season with the most wins in the major leagues.
Rays 8, Yankees 3
At New York, the New York Yankees failed to make the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years, getting mathematically eliminated during their loss to Tampa Bay.
Evan Longoria homered twice as the Rays won their sixth straight and lowered to three their magic number over Texas for clinching an AL wild-card berth.
Angels 3, Athletics 1
At Anaheim, Calif., Jered Weaver pitched seven innings of five-hit ball, Josh Hamilton drove in two runs and the Los Angeles Angels did a bit more damage to Oakland's home-field playoff hopes.
Erick Aybar had three hits in the Angels' final home game of their disappointing season.
Dan Straily (10-8) allowed seven hits while pitching into the seventh inning of his first loss since Aug. 17 for the AL West champion A's.
Mariners 6, Royals 0
At Seattle, Hisashi Iwakuma pitched eight scoreless innings and Mike Zunino homered twice as the Seattle Mariners ended Kansas City's playoff hopes.
All three teams ahead of Kansas City in the wild-card hunt — Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Texas — won on Wednesday. The Royals' loss eliminated them.
Ervin Santana (9-10) matched Iwakuma (14-6) and kept the Mariners scoreless for the first four innings before Seattle broke through.
Rangers 7, Astros 3
At Arlington, Texas, Leonys Martin hit a three-run double, Ian Kinsler homered and the Texas Rangers kept pace in the AL wild-card chase, handing Houston its 12th loss in a row and team-record 108th defeat this season.
Indians 7, White Sox 2
At Cleveland, rookie Danny Salazar gave Cleveland a much-needed quality start and Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer as the Indians tightened their grip one of the AL wild-card spots with their 14th straight win over the Chicago White Sox.
Orioles 9, Blue Jays 5
At Baltimore, Ryan Flaherty hit a pair of two-run homers, Jonathan Schoop had a solo shot in his big league debut and the Baltimore Orioles beat Toronto to snap a six-game skid and clinch their second straight winning season.
Giants 6, Dodgers 4
At San Francisco, Barry Zito won in what likely was his final hurrah for San Francisco and Pablo Sandoval backed him with a two-run homer.
Tony Abreu hit a bases-loaded triple to stake Zito to a quick 3-0 lead in the second, then added an RBI double in the sixth as last year's World Series champions put themselves in position for a rare home series victory if they can win tonight's rubber game with the NL West champion Dodgers.
Zito (5-11) outpitched Ricky Nolasco (13-11), whose late-September struggles have the Dodgers a bit concerned with the playoffs looming. The right-hander is 0-2 over his last three outings since getting victories in four consecutive starts and seven straight decisions.
Cardinals 4, Nationals 1
At St. Louis, rookie Shelby Miller won his 15th game, and Yadier Molina had the go-ahead hit for St. Louis, which wrapped up a three-game sweep of Washington and moved another step closer to the NL Central title.
Jordan Zimmermann (19-9) missed his only shot at 20 wins, allowing four runs in seven innings. The Nationals had five hits one day after breaking up rookie Michael Wacha's bid for a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning.
Mets 1, Reds 0
At Cincinnati, Daisuke Matsuzaka scattered four hits in 72/3 innings to win his third consecutive start, outdueling Cincinnati's Mat Latos.
Eric Young Jr. drove in the only run for the Mets, who won two of three in the series to further dampen Cincinnati's hopes of hosting the NL wild-card playoff game on Tuesday.
Cubs 4, Pirates 2
At Chicago, Darnell McDonald hit a three-run homer to lead Chicago to the win that really hurt Pittsburgh's hopes of winning the NL Central.
McDonald had three hits, including his homer in the sixth inning that put the Cubs ahead 4-1.
Brewers 4, Braves 0
At Atlanta, Kyle Lohse pitched a two-hitter and Milwaukee overcame Carlos Gomez's ejection in the first inning.
NL East champion Atlanta was shut out for the second time in three nights and has been blanked 17 times, second-most in the league.
Marlins 3, Phillies 2
At Miami, Adeiny Hechavarria drove in three runs, including a go-ahead run in the eighth inning, for Miami.
Hechavarria hit a two-run triple in the second before driving in the run that made it 3-2 on a fielder's choice.
Padres 12, Diamondbacks 2
At San Diego, Ian Kennedy's solid pitching and offensive production throughout the lineup led San Diego.
Kennedy (7-10) struck out seven and allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings while facing his ex-team for the second time since being acquired by the Padres on July 31. He had a no-decision in their previous meeting.
Red Sox 15, Rockies 5
At Denver, Todd Helton homered, doubled and drove in three runs in his final game at Coors Field, but Boston used Will Middlebrooks' two homers and career-high seven RBIs for the win.
Helton also had a sacrifice fly in his Colorado farewell. The first baseman is retiring at the end of his 17th season with the Rockies.