Winning their eighth consecutive game, beating up on the White Sox, 6-1, the Cleveland Indians finally made up some ground on the first-place Tigers, but only because Detroit had the night off.
Cleveland pounded out 14 hits against the Sox, but the most important ones were the three that came off the bat of Ryan Raburn, who was 3-for-4 with a pair of homers, four RBI and two runs.
Raburn homered with a man aboard in the third, singled in another run in the fifth and socked his second home run of the game in the seventh, a solo shot that completed the scoring.
Cleveland completed their four-game sweep of the visiting White Sox and will be looking to extend their streak when they open a series in Miami, Friday at 7:10 pm EDT against the Marlins
The star of Thursday night's massacre was Justin Upton, who started the season like a house afire, belting 12 homers in April, only to tail off dramatically, with just two in May, and one each in June and July. The two Thursday homers - a two run donk in the first inning and a three-run yank in the eighth - gave him 18 on the year, upping his RBI total to 53.
While Upton's batting average fell from .298 at the end of April to just ,258 at the conclusion of Thursday's game, the Braves haven't slowed down. The win increased their lead to 11 1/2 games over the idle Washington Nationals in the NL East, the largest lead in any major league division.
Atlanta will be looking to do more damage in the division when they open a three-game series in Philadelphia at 7:05 pm EDT, Friday night, followed by three straight at Washington.
Today's Trivia: Since 2004, the National League leader in fewest hits per nine innings has come from the NL West every year except 2005. Who was the leader that season?
Yesterday's Answer: Lance Johnson led the AL in triples four straight years (1991-1994) with the White Sox, then led the NL in triples in 1996 when he had 21 three-baggers with the Mets, the most in an NL single season since 1930.