Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) celebrates with second baseman Omar Infante (4) after hitting a home run in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. (Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
MINNEAPOLIS (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - The Tigers were prepared to wait another day to win the American League Central.
It was the sixth inning in Minneapolis and they led the Twins, thanks to a trio of home runs in the fourth inning.
Then Chris Perez took the mound in Cleveland.
Perez promptly allowed a solo home run, and then another, as he blew the Indians' lead against the White Sox in the ninth inning.
Suddenly, the Tigers were prepared to clinch the division.
But half an inning later, Jason Giambi lifted a walk-off, two-run home run into the upper deck at Progressive Field to beat Chicago, 5-4, and leave the Tigers with at least another day's wait to clinch the division.
The Tigers did clinch something in Tuesday night's 4-2 win over the Twins, though. They are guaranteed at least a berth in the one-game AL wild-card playoff, and a tie for the Central division title.
Propelled by those three home runs in the fourth inning and backed by a solid start from righty Doug Fister and a spotless finish by the bullpen, Detroit lowered their magic number to clinch the AL Central to one.
Trailing by a run halfway through, Victor Martinez tied the game with his 14th home run of the season on a line drive to left field. The home run was Martinez's third of September.
Omar Infante followed suite with a line drive home run to left field of his own to take the lead and four batters later, Austin Jackson took a trip around the bases after a two-run home run for a lead the Tigers would not relinquish.
The damage came against lefty Scott
Fister beat Diamond, pitching six-plus innings of two-run baseball. He allowed eight hits, struck out seven and walked one. He improved to 14-10 on the year with the victory.
Drew Smyly, Al Alburquerque, Bruce Rondon and Joaquin Benoit combined to pitch 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Rondon, in his first appearance since Sept. 1, struck out the side in the eighth
And a day after blowing his first save of the season, Benoit picked up his 23rd save.
Third baseman Miguel Cabrera started and played all nine innings, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Jackson and Torii Hunter each had three hits.
Detroit can now clinch their third consecutive division title with one of two scenarios: A win, or a Cleveland loss.
Contact Anthony Fenech: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.