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Smoke signals

• A year ago, the Indians endured the worst single calendar month in franchise history, going 5-24 in August. Entering Monday, Cleveland had three wins in four games this month, sat a season-high 13 games over .500 and was only three games out of first place in the American League Central.

"This is why these guys show up in Spring Training and work hard," Francona said. "We're in the middle of August right now and every game is so meaningful. That's a lot of fun."

• Entering Monday, the Indians had two players ranked in the top six (minimum 25 at-bats) in the AL in batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs. The list includes Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, .463 (41 at-bats); Cleveland's Ryan Raburn, .462 (26); Kansas City's David Lough, .406 (32); Texas' Nelson Cruz, .400 (45); Kansas City's Billy Butler, .385 (39); and Cleveland's Michael Brantley, .383 (47).

• This date in Indians history: On Aug. 5, 2001, the Indians completed an improbable comeback against the Mariners, battling back from a 14-2 deficit in the fifth inning to pull off a dramatic 15-14 victory in 11 innings. Jolbert Cabrera's broken-bat single in the 11th inning scored Kenny Lofton for the game-winning run.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
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