Seth Smith homered, doubled and drove in four runs, and the Oakland Athletics avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Detroit Tigers 12-4 on Thursday in a matchup of AL playoff contenders.
Both teams began the day in second place in their divisions, and Oakland held an edge in the wild-card race. The Tigers fell 2 1/2 games behind the Central-leading Chicago White Sox, who played later at Kansas City.
Outscored 18-4 in the first two games, Oakland held down Miguel Cabrera to win the finale. Cabrera singled in four at-bats, and tops the AL in batting at .333. Pat Neshek (2-1 ) earned the win by pitching a third of an inning in relief of Tommy Milone, who yielded three runs in 4 2/3 innings.
In Cleveland, Casey Kotchman singled with the bases loaded in the 10th, giving the Indians a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins yesterday.
With the bases loaded, Kotchman fouled off the first pitch before bouncing a ground ball up the middle against the drawn-in infield for his third hit of the game.
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