Game of the day: Cleveland at Detroit, 7:05 p.m. The Indians have closed to within 1½ games of the Tigers atop the American League Central, making this series the biggest matchup of the weekend. Detroit is just 6-8 since it opened a season-high four-game division lead on Aug. 3, allowing both Cleveland and Chicago to stay close. Right-hander Max Scherzer is scheduled to pitch Friday for the Tigers, and if recent history is any indication Scherzer is due for a loss. Detroit has alternated winning and losing in Scherzer’s last 11 starts, and the Tigers won when he last pitched on Saturday. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (12-5) will pitch for Cleveland, sporting a 6.55 career ERA against Detroit.
Other game to watch: Arizona at Atlanta, 7:35 p.m. The Diamondbacks have played well enough to temporarily exclude themselves from the wild-card conversation, and this series will instead feature a couple of would-be playoff teams if the season ended today. Atlanta right-hander Derek Lowe (7-11) has struggled recently, going 2-5 with a 6.81 ERA over his last seven starts. Arizona right-hander Daniel Hudson (12-8) is set to make his first career start against the Braves.
Games you should have seen:
Philadelphia 4, Arizona 1 . The Phillies withstood a 2-hour, 17-minute rain delay immediately after they took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, and held on to beat the Diamondbacks. Five Phillies pitchers combined to allow just three Arizona hits, starting with right-hander Vance Worley who threw three scoreless innings before the rain delay. John Mayberry Jr. homered for the Phillies, who became the first team this year to win 80 games.
Cleveland 4, Chicago White Sox 2 . Chicago had the bases loaded in bottom of the eighth inning, but failed to come back against the Indians. Kosuke Fukudome hit a go-ahead triple in the top of the sixth inning for Cleveland, and after Asdrubal Cabrera drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning, the two-run lead held up. Paul Konerko hit his 28th home run of the year for Chicago, which fell four games out of first place in the AL Central.
Stat you should know: 15. Total number of runs the Giants have scored this season in San Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum’s 10 losses. Lincecum fell to 11-10 after he was outdueled by Atlanta’s Mike Minor on Thursday in San Francisco’s 1-0 loss to the Braves.
Star of the night: Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw eight scoreless innings Thursday in Los Angeles’s 5-1 win over Milwaukee. Kershaw (15-5) has eight scoreless outings this year. Milwaukee had won 19 of its previous 21 games.
Chatter: “We have a program in place and it did what it was supposed to do.” – MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, responding to Rockies minor leaguer Mike Jacobs becoming the first North American professional athlete to be suspended for testing positive for human growth hormone.