With their minds set on repeating as champions of the Central division, the Detroit Tigers remained two games behind Cleveland with a 10-6 win at Oakland in the opener of a four game series, while the Indians took care of business with an 8-3 victory over the bumbling Boston Red Sox.
The eight hits by Dirks and Cabrera were part of a 17-hit barrage by the bat-happy Tigers.
At 16-15, Detroit hasn't exactly dominated the division, though they are 7-6 as a road team. They'll have three more opportunities to improve their road record in Oakland over the weekend.
Stephen Strasburg worked his magic from the mound, fanning 13 over six innings, while allowing one earned run off five hits and three walks. Having to battle with men on in four of his six innings of work, Strasburg, the NL strikeout leader (51), baffled hitters with teammates on the bases with strikeouts, and, at one point fanned seven straight Pirates.
Improving to 3-0 on the season, Strasburg helped the Nats avoid a sweep in the three-game series and back to a 1/2 game lead over idle Atlanta in the division, with the surprising Mets - winners of five straight - a game back and resurgent Miami three out. Philadelphia remained in the cellar, 5 1/2 back.
The Nationals head straight to Cincinnati for a three game weekend set, starting on Friday.