Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer, and Cleveland unloaded for four home runs off Justin Verlander on Tuesday night in a 7-4 victory over the Tigers, whose reign as AL champions is nearing an end.
Now 19-5 since Aug. 25, the Indians pushed their lead in the AL Central to 6½ games over second-place Detroit, which might have needed to sweep the three-game series to have any shot of catching Cleveland.
The best the Tigers can do now is salvage the Wednesday, but that won't be easy with C.C. Sabathia set to start for Cleveland.
The Indians dropped their magic number to five for clinching the division and a first playoff appearance since 2001.
Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run homer and Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko added solo shots off Verlander (17-6), who had never given up four home runs before and lost for just the second time in nine starts.
Both of those were lopsided losses to the Indians, who beat the right-hander three times this season. He's 16-3 against everyone else.
Rookie Jensen Lewis (1-1) pitched three hitless innings for his first major league win. Joe Borowski worked the ninth for his league-leading 41st save in 47 tries.
The Tigers, who lost 6-5 in 11 innings on Monday, had their chances early against starter Jake Westbrook. But they stranded 10 runners over the first five innings and then didn't put another runner on until Placido Polanco got hit with a pitch with two outs in the eighth.
Martinez, Cleveland's steadiest hitter all season, snapped a 4-4 tie in the sixth with his career-high 24th home run -- and fourth in 24 at-bats off Verlander. After Kenny Lofton singled with two outs, Gutierrez crushed the first pitch from Verlander, who dropped to 1-4 in five starts at Jacobs Field.
Westbrook was fortunate to get a no-decision as the Tigers tagged him for three earned runs and a season-high 12 hits in five innings.
The Tigers led 4-1 in the fourth before Hafner hit his 23rd homer, an estimated 429-foot shot with two outs.
Verlander walked Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera before Hafner, who hasn't put up the numbers this season that he or the Indians expected, drove a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right-center.
If the Tigers were still stinging from their tough loss Monday, they didn't show it.
They took a 1-0 lead in the second on Ramon Santiago's RBI single, and then loaded the bases with no outs in the third on three consecutive singles off Westbrook, who got two quick outs before running into big trouble.
First, he walked the free-swinging Marcus Thames, who came in with just 11 walks in 249 at-bats, to force in a run. Santiago followed with an RBI single that right fielder Gutierrez charged and scooped on the run before making a perfect one-hop throw to the plate.
However, Martinez let the ball pop out of his catcher's mitt as Magglio Ordonez scored to make it 4-1.
Garko's 19th home run tied it at 1 in the second.
Casey Blake felt a tad guilty for his celebration while circling the bases following Monday's walk-off homer. But if he thought about apologizing, Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who sprinted onto the field last week when Detroit scored four runs in the ninth to beat Toronto, said not to bother. "Did you see me? That doesn't offend me one bit," Leyland said. "Casey Blake and the entire Cleveland team is a class act. I don't have any problem with that. I'd have celebrated, too." ... The Tigers lead the AL with 540 extra-base hits, six shy of matching the club record set in 1929.