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CAGO -- The White Sox 5-4 victory over the Tigers on Monday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field wasn't exactly an American League Central clincher. But with a three-game lead and just 16 games left to play for both teams, it certainly put the South Siders in control.
"It's going to be tough," said Tigers leadoff hitter Austin Jackson. "We've just got to really handle our business and keep going out there and trying to win these ballgames. The pressure's on, but it's been that way for a while now. We know what we have to do. We're capable of doing it."
Monday's victory was produced by Alex Rios' takeout slide of second baseman Omar Infante on Dayan Viciedo's one-out grounder to shortstop Jhonny Peralta with the bases loaded, not only breaking up the double play but allowing Paul Konerko to score the eventual winning run when Infante's errant relay skipped past first baseman Prince Fielder. Four perfect innings from the White Sox bullpen didn't hurt either.
Detroit returns to Comerica Park for a 10-game homestand, starting with three against the A's, while the White Sox pick up their nine-game road trip in Kansas City after Monday's makeup contest. The Tigers finished with a 12-6 series win over the White Sox, including nine of the last 11, but it's the White Sox with a magic number of 14.
"If we're up three with two to go, I'll be really happy," White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn said. "I'm not going to sit here and downplay [Monday's win], but if we don't go to Kansas City and Anaheim and win games, it means nothing."
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.