wouldn't allow the AL Central to get any tighter. Now is definitely not the time.
Detroit's steady starter pitched seven shutout innings and remained unbeaten against Cleveland this season, and the first-place
Tigers kept their slender lead over Minnesota with a 3-1 win over the staggering Indians, who dropped their ninth straight
on Tuesday night.
''Edwin was just what the doctor ordered,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ''We needed a big outing from him and we got
In losing nine of nine of 13, the Tigers had let a season-high, seven-game lead on Sept. 6 slip to two over the Twins last
weekend. But thanks to Jackson, Detroit won its second straight and stayed 2 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota, which beat the
Chicago White Sox
Jackson knows that with the season winding down, the onus is on the starters to come through.
''It's imperative right now,'' the right-hander said. ''Every start we make is going to be a clutch start. Right now you have
to leave it all on the field. It's that time of the year where every game is not necessarily a must win, but it's important
to get as many as we can.''
homered in the third off
(7-7) and threw out a runner at the plate from left field an inning earlier.
Jackson (13-7) improved to 4-0 in five starts against Cleveland. He gave up seven hits and got out of jams in the fifth and
sixth with inning-ending double plays. Jackson also got a big assist from Raburn, who gunned down
at home to end the second. Raburn has eight assists in 79 games in the outfield.
Jackson hasn't gotten much run support all season and the Tigers weren't able to do much with Laffey, who allowed one run
and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings but lost his fourth straight start. It was the 16th time in 31 starts that Jackson has gone
at least seven innings.
The Indians closed within 3-1 in the eighth off Detroit relievers
, who gave up a bases-loaded walk to pinch-hitter
before striking out
to crush the threat.
pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 35 tries.
Leading 1-0 on Raburn's homer, Detroit tacked on two big runs in the eighth. After
walked two to open the inning,
hit an RBI double and
delivered a sacrifice fly.
The Indians fell to 3-17 in September.
''It's not like we're trying to lose,'' Laffey said. ''And it doesn't matter, at least to me, who we are playing. You have
to give 100 percent focus on every pitch. No matter who you face, you want to win.''
Cleveland opened its final homestand amid uncertainty about manager
's job for next season.
Owners Paul and Larry Dolan and general manager Mark Shapiro are reviewing all aspects of the organization, including Wedge.
They are expected to announce a decision on Wedge, who is signed through next season, around the Oct. 4 season finale.
''Nobody likes to lose,'' Indians DH
said. ''We came in with high expectations and it hasn't happened for us.''
Wedge has led the Indians to the postseason just once in his seven seasons, but has earned respect from his peers.
''He was a pretty smart manager when they won the division two years ago,'' Leyland said. ''He's no different now. You talk
about managers, we're pretty much all the same. When we have good players we usually do all right. There are no tricks. You
get good players and you win, everything is OK.
''You don't win and you usually go.''
NOTES: Raburn has three homers in his last six games. ... Indians 2B Valbuena started a gorgeous double play in the second
with a diving stop before flipping the ball with his glove backhanded to second for the forceout. ... Tigers OF
went 3-for-3 and is batting 417 (25-for-60) in 18 games this month. ... When they hit the road for the final time this season
next week, the Indians will be lugging an 11-game losing streak outside Cleveland. ... Detroit is 12-4 vs. Cleveland. ...
LaPorta was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth with inflammation in his left hip. He hurt it while running home on the
play where he was thrown out.