Good Wednesday afternoon. The Tigers are closing in on their largest division lead since they were seven games up in September 2009. They’ll need to improve on that by at least one game to avoid a rerun of the ’09 finish.

Leading Off: The Tigers somehow figured out way to solve David Price and hang on to a thrilling 2-1 win. Phil Coke was tremendous in relief and Ryan Perry got a huge out in the seventh and Alex Avila continues to deliver.

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The Tigers are in first place, 6.5 games ahead of the Indians and White Sox. With a win tonight, the Tigers would be 7 ahead of Cleveland and 7 1/2 ahead of Chicago.

Today’s Game: Tigers @ Rays Max Scherzer (13-7, 4.23 ERA) vs. Wade Davis (8-7), 4.43 ERA) | 7:05 p.m. – FSD/1270 AM and 97.1 FM

Scherzer enters his start this evening at Tampa Bay having posted a 3-2 record, 3.41 ERA and 29 strikeouts over his last five starts on the road dating back to July 7.

With a win tonight, he would join Justin Verlander to become the first pair of Tigers pitchers with 14-or-more wins in the club’s first 129 games of the season since Jack MorrisDan Petry and Milt Wilcox all did so in the first 129 games of 1984.

Scherzer’s making the second start of his career at Tropicana Field this evening. He took the loss in his previous outing, allowing four runs (three earned) in 5.2 innings of work.

On this date in 1940, Ted Williams pitches the last two innings against the Tigers in a 12-1 Detroit win at Fenway Park. The Splinter allowed one run on three hits.

On Aug. 24, 1976, at Tiger Stadium, Bill Freehan hits his 200th and final home run in a 12-7 loss to the White Sox. He will finish his career with 100 homers hit at home with the other 100 on the road.

Happy 55th Birthday to Tony Bernazard, who appeared in six games for the 1991 Tigers. He had two hits in 12 at bats.

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Around the Central: The Indians split a doubleheader with the Mariners (and have already lost today, dropping below .500), the Angels beat the White Sox 5-4 in walk-off fashion and the Royals beat the Blue Jays, 6-4, in Toronto.

  • Jhonny Peralta enters tonight’s game at hitting .319 with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 41 RBI in 63 games during his career against the Rays.
  • It looks like former Tigers first baseman Carlos Pena could be heading back to the American League, being claimed on waivers today. Pena is the only player left in the majors from the Tigers-A’s-Yankees trade from July 2002.
  • I’ve been forced to listen to the Rays’ radio crew on XM Radio the past two nights. They aren’t bad, but they seem to miss no opportunity to bash the Tigers, Jim Leyland and, last night, Brad Penny. I take particular exception to them railing on Penny — that’s my territory.
  • The Tigers enter tonight’s game at Tampa Bay having won 15 of their last 23 games on the road dating back to July 6. Detroit is second among all A.L. clubs with a .652 winning on the road during that stretch.

Finally, Happy 53rd Birthday to Steve Guttenberg.