Detroit Saturday afternoon, Jim Leyland still had hope. By the end of the night, it was mostly gone.
Shortly before his Detroit Tigers took on Kansas City, Leyland saw that Toronto was leading the New York Yankees. The manager had a long-shot scenario in mind for taking the AL wild card.
"If Toronto holds on, and we win tonight, it's 31â2," he said. "Then we get one tomorrow, the Yankees lose again, and suddenly it's 21â2 with a week to play."
Unfortunately for the defending American League champions, things didn't work out that way. The Royals once again beat Kenny Rogers and the Tigers in a key game, 7-4, hours after the Yankees rallied to win.
The Tigers now trail the Yankees by 51â2 games with only seven left to play. In the AL Central, Cleveland's magic number for eliminating Detroit is down to one.
"Everybody else is going be more dramatic than I am," Leyland said. "It's sad that we're probably not going to the postseason, but that's the way it goes. The Cardinals and us were in the World Series last year, and it looks like neither of us is going to make it this year. That happens."
Mark Grudzielanek was the hitting star for Kansas City, going 4-for-5 against his favorite opponents. He is now batting .647 in his career against Rogers and .355 against Detroit this year.
"I've made a few mistakes against him, and he just seems to take advantage of every one of them," Rogers said. "He's in trouble next year - that average is going down. At least I got him out once today."
Last year, the Royals beat Rogers on the final day of the season, giving the AL Central to the Minnesota Twins.
Kyle Davies (3-7) won for just the second time in eight starts, giving up three runs and nine hits with a walk in 51â3 innings.
"I was really feeling the ball well coming out of my hand, and it had some life to it," he said. "It was good."
Magglio Ordonez had four hits, including an RBI single off Joakim Soria in the ninth that got the Tigers within 7-4 and raised his batting average to .358.