DETROIT -- For the first time in a month, the Tigers gained a game on the White Sox without actually playing against the White Sox. With no more games left against the White Sox, they're going to need more of that.
With Wednesday's 6-2 win over the A's, combined with Chicago's loss in Kansas City, the Tigers closed their deficit to two games with 14 games left to play. After Thursday's matinee against Oakland, they'll play their final 13 games against the Twins and Royals -- seven straight at home, then the final six on the road. The White Sox head out west this weekend to face the Angels before playing six of their final 10 against the Indians.
They've stopped worrying what the White Sox do, they say. They're just focused on their own games. Still, Wednesday's was the first bit of help they've received in making up the gap.
"We have to focus on one game at a time," said Miguel Cabrera, who hit his 41st home run of the year. "If we start worrying about other teams, I think we make mistakes. Our goal is to win games and make the playoffs. I think if we make the playoffs, everything's going to come together."
Thursday's key games to watch (all times ET)
A's (Milone, 13-10) at Tigers (Sanchez, 8-12), 1:05 p.m. Preview >
Blue Jays (Laffey, 3-5) at Yankees (Hughes, 15-12), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
Red Sox (Buchholz, 11-6) at Rays (Price, 18-5), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
White Sox (Liriano, 6-11) at Royals (Guthrie, 4-3), 8:10 p.m. Preview >
Rangers (Darvish, 15-9) at Angels (Greinke, 14-5), 10:05 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
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.
2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1