Before the current stretch in late September, the Detroit Tigers had made a habit of letting the Chicago White Sox off the hook by matching their spurts of poor play. But, after ripping off four-straight wins during Chicago's recent three-game skid, the Tigers have finally jumped out to a lead in the AL Central.
Going into Friday's slate of games, Detroit holds a two-game lead over the White Sox with just six games remaining for each team.
The Tigers have Tampa Bay Rays 3B Evan Longoria to thank for the extra half-game cushion, because Longoria launched a 405-foot home run in the ninth inning against the Sox Thursday night to break the 2-2 tie and banish Chicago to another disappointing loss.
The Sox have three games remaining against the Rays and another three against the Cleveland Indians, while the Tigers have a trio of games against the Twins and three matchups against the Royals to wrap up the regular season schedule.
For a complete look at the standings, make sure to check out SI.com.