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Verlander Lets Tigers Keep Pace With White Sox

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DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers reacts after slipping on the mound during the fourth inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on September 24, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 24: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers reacts after slipping on the mound during the fourth inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on September 24, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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One eye on the scoreboard, one eye on the standings and two eyes on the game immediately in front of them.

The Tigers freely admit they scoreboard-watch, fully aware of their positions in the standings, which was a game out of first place in the AL Central entering Monday and remained the same after the night’s play.

“You can’t bother about that stuff,” outfielder Andy Dirks said after Detroit defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-2 to remain one game behind the Chicago White Sox in the division race. “You have to focus on winning your game. If you win, everything takes care of itself.”

“I’ve said it all season,” manager Jim Leyland said. “Win games.”

It’s a little easier to do with Justin Verlander on the mound and six runs in your pocket.

Verlander scattered nine hits, struck out eight and allowed two runs in eight innings. He improved to 16-8.

“You can’t get uptight,” Verlander said. “This is a fun game. It’s not like every game is a must-win game.”

Verlander survived a couple of scares, one physical.

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