It was a good night for the Indians.

They beat a left-handed starter who just so happened to pitch for the Detroit Tigers. What are the odds on that?

If this was May instead of September it was would have been a sucker's bet. On Friday night at Comerica Park, the whims of chance were a lot more balanced as the Tribe's 8-1 victory points out.

The Indians are still only 4-9 against the Tigers and 18-27 in games started by left-handers this season, but Friday night was an indication of the direction the two teams are headed.

The Tribe and Tigers voided themselves of veterans around the July 31 trading deadline. The Tribe started playing better. The Tigers, who started the season in search of their fifth straight AL Central title, went the other way.

"The last time we saw them they were beating us up and the rest of the league as usual," said manager Terry Francona before the game. "Who would have thought we'd come back here now and be ahead of them?

"They've had a lot things not go the way they thought they'd go. But those names in the lineup still look the same to me."

The Indians entered the game in third place in the AL Central, while the Tigers were last.