Seven Cleveland pitchers combined to hold off Los Angeles, 4-3, on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep in Anaheim and a six-game season sweep of the Angels by the Indians.
A homer in the first and three runs in the second backed Tribe pitching on Wednesday, as starter Adam Plutko and six relievers behind him held off the Halos as the Indians pulled back within four games of the first place Minnesota Twins in the American League Central and stayed a half game in back of Oakland for the second AL Wild Card spot. The combined efforts allowed Cleveland (86-61) to gain ground in the division, while the Angels fell to 67-80 with their fourth straight loss.
And then there was one.
This year’s been a rough one for members of the 1954 Indians. Pitcher Don Mossi died in July at the age of 90. Hal Naragon, who backed up Jim Hegan as catcher and returned to his native Barberton after his playing and coaching days (where the high school field is named in his honor), died at the end of August at the age of 91.
And now, Wally Westlake, who was the second-oldest living former major leaguer, has died. Westlake died Friday, according to team sources, at the age of 98. (Ironically, the second-oldest former major leaguer is now Eddie Robinson, the last living player from the last Indians team to win a World Series, in 1948.)
Zach Plesac quieted any concerns that he was running out of gas late in the season as he fired a complete game four-hit shutout in an 8-0 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
The Indians supplied Plesac with a half dozen runs of support over the first three innings, but the rookie right-hander needed just one of those runs to shut down the Angels in the middle game of three for the Indians in Anaheim. Making his 19th career start, Plesac went the distance to move the Indians to 85-61 on the year, five games in back of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
Shane Bieber provided the Indians with seven quality innings and home runs by Jason Kipnis and Yu Chang supplied the majority of the support as Cleveland opened its three-game series in Anaheim with a 6-2 win over the Angels on Monday night.
Bieber, a native of Laguna Hills, California, and a UC Santa Barbara alum, was once again masterful as he shut down the Halos. Making his American League leading 30th start of the season, he led the way with seven strong innings of one-run work, scattering five hits and no walks while striking out eight on the night. The Indians scored early with three runs over the first two frames, then added on with a big three-run blast later in the contest to earn another needed win for the team’s pursuits of a postseason berth.
The weekend didn’t go quite as planned for the Cleveland Indians, but they did pick up a game on the Minnesota Twins in their three-game series as they claimed a 5-2 win on Sunday to take their set from Target Field.
Entering the weekend series on the road in the Twin Cities, the Indians trailed by six and a half games in the American League Central. The two clubs traded off wins in the first two games of the series before Cleveland captured the rubber match in a well-pitched game by Mike Clevinger, who was backed by a pair of homers from Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor as the Indians picked up one on the Twins to pull within five and a half games in the division with 18 games left on the regular season slate.
With a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles, the Cleveland Indians clinch the American League Central Division crown. With the season shortened at the front-end of the schedule, it was the 123rd game of the season, the fastest that any team has won a title in Major League history. The Indians improve to 86-37 with the win.
The Minnesota Twins rallied with four runs in the seventh inning to knock off the visiting Cleveland Indians in a 5-3 win on Saturday night.
Facing All-Star Jake Odorizzi, who had posted strong numbers against the Indians in three starts this season, the Cleveland bats struggled to get anything going until the sixth inning, but a two-run outburst gave the club a late lead. While the Indians got a good effort from rookie Aaron Civale against the tough Twins lineup, the bullpen could not protect the one-run lead, coughing up four runs in the seventh, capped by the second home run of the day from Mitch Garver that served as the back-breaker.
For the second straight game for the Cleveland Indians at Target Field, the Tribe used a four-run frame in extra innings to knock off the Minnesota Twins, this time skipping the Carlos Santana grand slam and instead using three separate RBI base knocks with two men out to stun the host club in a 6-2 final.
A game dominated by solid starting pitching on both sides of the field was decided by the bullpens in eleven innings. The Indians sent ten men to the plate in the eleventh, putting up four hits while plating four runs with two men out to earn a much-needed win in the first of six games remaining between Cleveland and Minnesota in the month of September. The Tribe, desperate for every win possible as they look to remain in the mix in the American League Central race as well as the AL Wild Card chase, pulled off the stunning win for their fifth win against the Twins in their last six contests.