Backed by a strong six innings from Scott Kazmir, Cleveland’s 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins guarantees the Indians of at least a tie for one of the American League Wild Card spots.
Cleveland got a pair of runs in the fourth inning to take the lead as Carlos Santana’s two-out, two-run homer off of Cole De Vries scored Jason Kipnis. A pair of singles from Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham to lead off the bottom of the frame set the table for Eric Fryer two outs later, as his RBI-single off of Kazmir cut the Tribe’s lead in half.
The Indians tacked on three more in the fifth to effectively put the game out of reach as the team used more two-out hitting to rally. Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles each singled to put two on for Michael Bourn, whose triple to right knocked in the pair. After a walk by Nick Swisher, Kipnis singled home Bourn to give Cleveland a sizeable 5-1 lead, one that Kazmir and three bullpen teammates would hold down for the victory.
It is the Indians’ ninth straight win and 14th win in their last 16 games. It gives them a one-game lead over the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. The Indians will win their game on Sunday, September 29, clinching the top AL Wild Card position and giving the club home field advantage in the Wild Card play-in game. Tampa Bay and Texas will finish with even 91-71 records and play in a tiebreaker on Monday in Arlington, Texas. The victorious Rays will then come to Cleveland and defeat the Indians in the Wild Card game.