Sports

Indians nip Oakland A's

CLEVELAND -- Fausto Carmona won his 18th game, Ryan Garko and Jhonny Peralta hit back-to-back homers and Cleveland beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 Friday night to lower its magic number to two for clinching their first AL Central title since 2001.

Coupled with Detroit's 5-4 win over Kansas City, the Indians remain 7½ games ahead in the division. The Indians have nine games left, the Tigers only eight. Cleveland has won four straight, is 6-1 on its final homestand and 21-5 since Aug. 25.

Carmona (18-8) has won his last four starts, allowing a total of four earned runs during the streak. Carmona gave up a run and five hits with four walks in six innings, striking out seven.

Garko hit his 20th home run to the bleachers in left field to lead off the sixth inning, then Jhonny Peralta hit the next pitch over the right-field wall, his 21st. Asdrubal Cabrera's sacrifice fly later that inning drove in Kenny Lofton and made it 4-1.

Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his league-leading 43rd save in 49 chances.

Joe Blanton (14-10) had won his last three starts and six of his last seven decisions, his last loss coming Aug. 25. He went 5º innings, allowing four runs and 10 hits with three walks.

Jack Cust hit his 25th home run, a two-run shot off Rafael Perez to pull Oakland within one in the seventh.

The A's have lost five in a row and 17 of 26.

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