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2012 MLB standings: Tigers' lead in AL Central grows to 2 games

The Chicago White Sox have lost their grip on the AL Central, and the Detroit Tigers have finally decided to pounce at the opportunity.

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

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.