2006 American League Division Series
The 2006 American League Division Series (ALDS), the opening round of the 2006 American League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 3, and ended on Saturday, October 7, with the champions of the three AL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:
- (1) New York Yankees (Eastern Division champions, 97–65) vs. (4) Detroit Tigers (Wild Card, 95–67); Tigers win series, 3–1.
- (2) Minnesota Twins (Central Division champions, 96–66) vs. (3) Oakland Athletics (Western Division champions, 93–69); Athletics win series, 3–0.
The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was determined by playing record.
The Athletics and Tigers met in the AL Championship Series, where a Detroit sweep made the Tigers the American League champions. The Tigers then faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2006 World Series, and lost, four games to one, despite having home-field advantage.
 Playoff race
The AL playoff race of 2006 was unusually dramatic, with the last divisional championship and the wild card berth undecided until the final day of the season, and the most unlikely of all of the AL's playoff contenders taking the top spot in the AL Central and the second seed.
In the AL East, the New York Yankees (97–65) clinched the division when the Boston Red Sox were eliminated from the playoffs by the Minnesota Twins (96–66) on September 20. The Oakland Athletics (92–69) clinched the AL West on September 26, and in the AL Central, the Twins won the division by a single game over the Wild Card Detroit Tigers (95–67) after Detroit—who had led the division for the entire season—lost their last five games. Minnesota had set a torrid pace since June 7, after a horrible start. The Twins sewed up their playoff berth with an 8–1 win over the Kansas City Royals. They clinched the Central Division title, their fourth in five years, with a 5–1 victory and a 10–8 Detroit loss to the Royals on the last day of the season. The Twins' 96–66 mark is their best since the 98–64 AL West Champion Twins of 1970.
 New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers
Detroit won the series, 3–1.
|1||October 3||Detroit Tigers – 4, New York Yankees – 8||Yankee Stadium (I)||3:14||56,291|
|2||October 5†||Detroit Tigers – 4, New York Yankees – 3||Yankee Stadium (I)||3:15||56,252|
|3||October 6||New York Yankees – 0, Detroit Tigers – 6||Comerica Park||3:05||43,440|
|4||October 7||New York Yankees – 3, Detroit Tigers – 8||Comerica Park||2:54||43,126|
†: Game was postponed due to rain on October 4
 Minnesota Twins vs. Oakland Athletics
Oakland won the series, 3–0.
|1||October 3||Oakland Athletics – 3, Minnesota Twins – 2||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||2:19||55,542|
|2||October 4||Oakland Athletics – 5, Minnesota Twins – 2||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||3:02||55,710|
|3||October 6||Minnesota Twins – 3, Oakland Athletics – 8||McAfee Coliseum||2:55||35,694|
 New York vs. Detroit
 Game 1, October 3
|WP: Chien-Ming Wang (1–0) LP: Nate Robertson (0–1)
DET: Craig Monroe (1), Curtis Granderson (1)
NYY: Jason Giambi (1), Derek Jeter (1)
A five-run third inning by the Yankees put the game out of reach for the Tigers. Bobby Abreu doubled to score Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter. Gary Sheffield then singled in Abreu, and Jason Giambi launched a two-run home run for a commanding 5–0 lead. In the fifth, the Tigers got on the board with a solo home run from Craig Monroe, then scored two more runs to make a 5–3 Yankees, but Chien-Ming Wang struck out Magglio Ordóñez to end the inning. The Yankees added to their lead with two runs in the sixth and a home run from Jeter in the eighth. The Tigers only got one more run, via a solo shot from Curtis Granderson. Jeter batted 5-for-5 in the game, becoming the sixth player to record five hits in one postseason game.
 Game 2, October 5
|WP: Jamie Walker (1–0) LP: Mike Mussina (0–1) Sv: Todd Jones (1)
DET: Carlos Guillén (1)
NYY: Johnny Damon (1)
Game 2 was postponed for one day due to rain. In the second inning, Marcus Thames doubled to bring home Craig Monroe, giving the Tigers a 1–0 lead. In the fourth, Johnny Damon launched a three-run home run off Justin Verlander to give the Yankees a 3–1 lead. That would be last time the Yankees would lead in the series and score until Game 4. Jamie Walker (who earned the victory in relief) and Joel Zumaya shut the Yanks down for the rest of the game. The Tigers clawed their way back in off Mike Mussina. In the fifth, a sacrifice fly from Curtis Granderson scored Thames to the cut the lead to one. Next inning, Carlos Guillén homered to tie the game and in the seventh, Granderson tripled in Thames to give the Tigers a 4–3 lead. In the ninth, Todd Jones earned the save by getting Johnny Damon to fly out to center with one man on to end the game and even the series.
 Game 3, October 6
|WP: Kenny Rogers (1–0) LP: Randy Johnson (0–1)
DET: Curtis Granderson (2)
Feeding off a crowd witnessing its first playoff game in nineteen years, Detroit pitcher Kenny Rogers pitched 7 2⁄3 innings of scoreless ball, earning a victory and standing ovation from the Comerica Park crowd in a 6–0 Tigers win. Rogers was throwing as hard as 92 mph in the eighth inning, topping usual top speed by 3–4 mph. Joel Zumaya used his 103-mph arm to close out the inning, and Todd Jones closed the game for the second time, but did not earn a save, as the Tigers were not in a save situation.
 Game 4, October 7
|WP: Jeremy Bonderman (1–0) LP: Jaret Wright (0–1)
NYY: Jorge Posada (1)
DET: Magglio Ordóñez (1), Craig Monroe (2)
Detroit finished off New York behind another dominating pitching performance, this time by Jeremy Bonderman in an 8–3 clinching win. In the second inning, Magglio Ordóñez and Craig Monroe homered off Jaret Wright to give the Tigers a 3–0 lead. After giving up an unearned run in the third, Wright was replaced by Cory Lidle, who ended the inning without further damage, pitched a perfect fourth, but allowed two runs in the fifth. Brian Bruney and Scott Proctor each allowed a Tigers run to put the game out of reach. Bonderman, meanwhile, pitched a no-hitter through five innings. Robinson Canó singled in the sixth for the Yankees' first hit, but Bonderman prevented any further damage. The Yankees ended their twenty-inning shutout streak with a Hideki Matsui RBI. Bonderman left the game in the ninth inning with one on and one out. Jamie Walker gave up a two-run homer to Jorge Posada in the ninth before getting Robinson Canó to ground out to end the game and send the Tigers to the 2006 ALCS against the Oakland Athletics. The game is notable as Cory Lidle made his final appearance before dying in an airplane crash four days later, and was the final ALDS game televised by FOX due to the new TV contracts as of 2011.
 Composite box
|New York Yankees||0||0||5||3||0||2||1||1||2||14||33||3|
|Total attendance: 199,109 Average attendance: 49,777|
 Minnesota vs. Oakland
 Game 1, October 3
|WP: Barry Zito (1–0) LP: Johan Santana (0–1) Sv: Huston Street (1)
OAK: Frank Thomas 2 (2)
MIN: Rondell White (1)
The A's came into the series as a major underdog, and they had to face arguably the best pitcher in the majors in Johan Santana. Also working against Oakland, Minnesota's Metrodome is regarded as one of the toughest places to play in all of baseball. Frank Thomas hit two home runs, and Barry Zito outdueled Santana (though Zito got a major assist in the eighth inning when, following a lead-off double, Luis Castillo did not bunt in a clear bunting situation) to give the A's a shocking Game 1 victory.
 Game 2, October 4
|WP: Kiko Calero (1–0) LP: Pat Neshek (0–1) Sv: Huston Street (2)
OAK: Mark Kotsay (1)
MIN: Michael Cuddyer (1), Justin Morneau (1)
The A's followed their Game 1 victory with an even more shocking victory in Game 2. An RBI double in the fifth inning by A's short stop Marco Scutaro scored Nick Swisher to give the A's the lead, which was followed by a single from Jason Kendall to score Scutaro. The Twins would tie the game up in the sixth inning off back-to-back home runs from Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau to chase Oakland starter Esteban Loaiza. In the seventh, with two out and Kendall on first base, Oakland's Mark Kotsay hit a hard line drive to center field. Torii Hunter, an accomplished defensive player, made an ill-considered dive for what should only have been a single, but Hunter's dive allowed the ball to roll all the way to the wall, allowing Kotsay to score for a two-run inside-the-park home run, and give the Athletics a commanding lead in the series.
 Game 3, October 6
|WP: Dan Haren (1–0) LP: Brad Radke (0–1)
MIN: Torii Hunter (1), Justin Morneau (2)
OAK: Eric Chavez (1), Milton Bradley (1)
The A's have had a difficult time in winning games when they have the opportunity to eliminate an opponent in the postseason, leaving many to question if the team would choke another time. All questions were answered when Oakland scored twice in the second when Eric Chavez hit a home run and Marco Scutaro added another RBI double in the series. The A's added two more runs in the third when Mark Kotsay scored on a home run by Milton Bradley to deep center field. Scutaro would add insurance runs for the A's in the seventh inning from a three-RBI double, giving the A's a 8–2 lead and Scutaro his sixth RBI in three games as Oakland swept the Twins with the 8–3 victory. This game was also notable in that Twins pitcher Brad Radke made his final career appearance.
 Composite box
|Total attendance: 146,946 Average attendance: 48,982|
- "2006 ALDS - Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2006 ALDS - Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2006 ALDS - New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2006 ALDS - New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers - Game 4". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2006 ALDS - Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2006 ALDS - Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2006 ALDS - Minnesota Twins vs. Oakland Athletics - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- Kepner, Tyler (October 4, 2006). "Yankees 8, Tigers 4: Jeter, as Usual, Saves His Best for October". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2012.