The Tigers still command a four-game edge over the Royals, who have won three straight, but the Indians and White Sox, 6 1/2 and seven games back, respectively, have not gone away.
All four Central contenders won on Friday, the Indians taking the first of their three-game series in Cleveland with a 12-2 pounding of the Rangers.
Batting out of the eighth spot, David Murphy provided some bottom-of-the-order offense with a 4-for-4 performance, banging two doubles, a pair of singles, driving in two runs and scoring twice. Murphy also had an eventful night in right field, throwing out Adrian Beltre at the plate to preserve a slender, 1-0, lead in the second inning, followed by an error on a bobble in the third, which did not result in any unearned runs.
Some may call it payback, but Murphy's big night came against the team for which he played six seasons, and which traded him to the Indians following 2013.
The series resumes Saturday, at 7:05 pm EDT.
San Diego banged out 20 hits, five of them by rookie first baseman, Tommy Medica, in five at-bats.
Medica, a UC-Santa Clara graduate, banged a pair of two-run homers (#s 5 and 6), three singles, drove in four runs, stole a base ad scored four times, certainly his best game as a major leaguer. with just 150 at-bats this season, Medica's batting average went from .248 to .273 in just one game.
San Diego still has a bit of hope in the West, trailing the Dodgers by 12 1/2, but time is running out on them.
Game two of the series is slated for an 8:40 pm EDT start on Saturday.