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Indians Still Hanging Close in A. L. Central

People keep waiting for the Detroit Tigers to pull away in the American League Central Division. They have pulled away form every team but one, the Cleveland Indians. The Indians are still within 1.5 games of the lead in the division after the weekend series were over. Cleveland is probably kicking themselves that they did not take advantage of an opportunity this past wekend. While they were dropping two of three to the Minnesota Twins, the Tigers dropped two of three to the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals took the first two games of their series with the Tigers 1-0 on Friday and 6-5 on Saturday. Ervin Santana, who may be trade bait as the deadline approaches, shut the Tigers potent offense down going 7 1-3 innings of two-hit ball. Anibal Sanchez took the loss although he pitched well, allowing only one run in six innings. The lone run in the game scored on a Billy Butler single in the first inning that scored Aaron Gordon. It was all the offense Santana and the bullpen would need.

On Saturday, the Royals won another one-run games as Mike Moustakas went 3 for 4 including a game winning homer. On Sunday, James Shields tried to complete the sweep but was unable to as Doug Fister shut the Royals down in his first post All-Star Break start. Fister went six innings allowing only a Miguel Tejada solo home run. Miguel Cabrera and Andy Dirks each hit solo shots for the Tigers and catcher Brayan Pena drove in two runs on sac flies to make it 4-1.

The Indians lost to the Twins in the first two games of that series to stay 1.5 games back. They, like the Tigers lost them both by one run, both by a score of 3-2. And like the Tigers, they got a convincing win on Sunday, 7-1. Justin Masterson won his 11th game going seven strong innings allowing only one run.

The other three teams all gained a game on the two front-runners over the weekend as the Chicago White Sox won two of three from the Atlanta Braves. Alex Rios was benched in Friday’s Braves win for a lack of hustle. He responded by coming back on Saturday to lead the Sox with a grand slam and five RBI in the Sox 10-6 win. On Saturday, the Sox won a 3-1 pitcher’s duel between Jose Quintana of the Sox and Mike Minor of the Braves.

The Tigers will start a four games eries on Monday with the White Sox in Chicago while the Indians begin a three game series at the Seattle Mariners.

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