In front of 40,250 fans at Jacobs Field, the Cleveland Indians defeat the Oakland Athletics, 6-2, to clinch their first American League Central Division championship since 2001 and their seventh such division crown overall.
The win came in the Indians’ final home game of the regular season and pushed their record to 92-63. With seven games remaining in the season, Eric Wedge’s Tribe held a seven and a half game lead over the Detroit Tigers and had the best record in the American League by a half game over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Starter Jake Westbrook was staked to an early 2-0 lead in the second, as Jason Michaels drove in a run on a groundout and Grady Sizemore singled with two outs to score Jhonny Peralta. They would open the game up in the bottom of the fourth on three straight hits – Casey Blake scored a pair with a double, Sizemore tripled in Blake, and Asdrubal Cabrera singled to left to score Sizemore.
Westbrook was tagged for two in the sixth with two outs in the inning. Donnie Murphy singled with one out and Daric Barton homered to right with two outs to put the A’s behind 6-2. They would get no closer.
The Indians starter improved to 6-9 on the season, striking out nine Athletics over seven innings. Rafael Betancourt earned the four-out save, his second of the season, and ended the contest with a punch out of Mark Ellis before the celebration began.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
1949 – The Indians bury the pennant from their American League championship the season before in a ceremony at Cleveland Stadium, just one day after the club was eliminated from postseason consideration.
2005 – Travis Hafner homers for the sixth consecutive game. He will extend his hitting streak to eight straight games the next day, but his homer streak will end. He will hit seven homers over that six-game stretch while driving in 18.
Photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer