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Indians defeat Tigers, clinch AL Central for first division title since 2007

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The Indians beat the Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park on Monday night, clinching the AL Central for their first division title since 2007. Starter Corey Kluber lasted only four innings before exiting with right groin tightness, but the Indians were able to overcome the adversity.

Coco Crisp gave the Indians their first two runs with a two-run home run in the second inning off of starter Buck Farmer. The Tigers would promptly tie the game on a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the bottom half of the inning.

In the fifth, an RBI double by Jason Kipnis and a sacrifice fly by Mike Napoli put the Tribe back on top 4-2. The Tigers answered once again with a Miguel Cabrera RBI single in the bottom half to make it 4-3.

Roberto Perez homered for the Indians in the top of the top of the seventh, and Cabrera answered with another RBI single in the bottom half to keep it within one run at 5-4.

The Indians tacked on another insurance run in the eighth on three consecutive two-out singles by Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Perez. Carlos Santana then hit what should have been the final out of the eighth inning, but J.D. Martinez botched the catch, allowing the Indians’ seventh run to score.

Cody Allen shut the Tigers down in the bottom of the ninth, protecting the 7-4 lead for his 30th save of the season.

The last time the Indians won the AL Central, their starting lineup featured a 28-year-old Victor Martinez, a 25-year-old Jhonny Peralta, a 24-year-old Grady Sizemore, and a 26-year-old CC Sabathia. It’s been a long time.

The American League playoff picture still isn’t set yet, so the Indians will be intently watching the final week of the season to see who will be their playoff opponent.

Carlos Correa likely headed to injured list again

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Per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said shortstop Carlos Correa will likely be placed on the 10-day injured list due to a back injury. Correa exited Monday’s game against the Tigers after two innings due to the back issue.

Correa, 24, missed two months between May 26 and July 26 due to a broken rib. Back issues aren’t anything new to him either, as he missed time last year with back issues as well. This season, the shortstop is batting .278/.358/.556 with 19 home runs and 56 RBI in 310 plate appearances.

Alex Bregman handled shortstop for a majority of the time Correa was out earlier this year, shifting over from third base. That could once again be the case going forward, with Yuli Gurriel taking over at the hot corner.