CLEVELAND -- Though Sunday marked the Indians' final regular-season game at Progressive Field, fans knew it wasn't the last time the team would be playing at home this year.The Indians will be back. As American League Central champions, the Tribe is guaranteed at least one more home game -- Game
CLEVELAND -- Though Sunday marked the Indians' final regular-season game at Progressive Field, fans knew it wasn't the last time the team would be playing at home this year.
The Indians will be back. As American League Central champions, the Tribe is guaranteed at least one more home game -- Game 3 of the best-of-five AL Division Series, but the team and fans alike are hoping there's more to follow as the club tries to bring home its first World Series title in seven decades.
The Indians (87-68) were able to wrap up their home slate on a high note and staved off the also-postseason-bound Red Sox (105-51) with a 4-3 walk-off victory in 11 innings, giving Cleveland a 4-3 season series advantage against the AL East champions.
"If that game tonight was in a couple weeks, that'd be one for the ages," manager Terry Francona said. "Tonight, it's going to be a late night, but it was a fun game. Both teams again used a lot of guys and a lot of pitchers, but it was a fun game. Everybody approached it the right way, and we got a win out of it."
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Rookie Greg Allen drove in Jose Ramirez as the winning run in the 11th, shooting a one-out single with the bases loaded into left field past a drawn-in infield for the Tribe's second walk-off win in as many days. Michael Brantley delivered the game-winning hit in Saturday's extra-innings tilt. Following the hit, Allen was chased down by teammates and mobbed in the outfield.
"I don't think there's any getting away from that," said Allen, after stowing his game-winning game ball into his locker. "In a time like that, when it's celebratory, I don't really want to get away from it. It was fun -- definitely fun."
Josh Tomlin (2-5) got the win after throwing two scoreless innings. William Cuevas (0-2) was charged with the winning run after pitching 5 1/3 solid frames.
"Up and down, those are some of the best hitters you'll see in all of baseball," said Indians starter Adam Plutko, who allowed three runs across six innings.
Despite the matchup between playoff-bound opponents, the result had little effect on team position or seeding. The Indians will enter the ALDS on the road against the AL West winner, the Astros or Athletics. Boston has a magic number of one to secure the top overall record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Sox will face the winner of the AL Wild Card Game in the ALDS.
"Hopefully, we'll see them again later on in the playoffs," Allen said. "It's really just kind of testing that will power. We were able to persevere."
His teammates agree.
"This reminds me of October," shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "Playing games like this is fun."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Edwin reaches century mark: The Tribe tagged Red Sox starter Hector Velazquez for three runs in the third, a rally that started when Edwin Encarnacion plated Brantley with a single to the left-center-field gap for his 100th RBI of the season. Switch-hitter Melky Cabrera drove in Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso on a two-run, opposite-field double from the right side of the plate off right-handed knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Encarnacion finished the game 2-for-3 and hit his first triple of the season in the second. Earlier in the year, he had an inside-the-park home run and three stolen bases. Encarnacion has reached 100 RBIs six times, including each of the last four seasons, matching Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado for the longest active streak in the Majors.
"As long as he stays healthy, you can pretty much pen and ink it in that he's going to get 100 RBIs," Francona said of Encarnacion. "He does it every year. That's what he brings. It's nice knowing that going into a year."
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Starting catcher Roberto Perez exited the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with a right shoulder contusion, the club announced. Perez took a foul ball off the shoulder in the top of the third but stayed in the game after being evaluated by a team trainer. Rookie Eric Haase pinch-hit for Perez in the fifth and took over behind the plate.
"He got hit pretty hard in the right shoulder," Francona said. "We let him get looked at and get some ice on it."
With an attendance of 27,879, the Tribe's total regular-season attendance was 1,961,701 -- including nine sellouts and an average of 24,084, eighth-highest in the AL.
HE SAID IT
"They tell you, 'Oh, these games don't mean anything.' Really? Well, you have 105 wins. Clearly you guys want to win ballgames and we want to win ballgames. So I think that competitiveness is there whether it's meaningless games or whatever. Every team wants to win." -- Plutko
Corey Kluber will take the mound on Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field as the Tribe begins its final road trip of the season with a three-game set against the White Sox. The Indians ace will be trying to reach 20 wins for the first time and become the first Indians pitcher to do so since Cliff Lee went 22-3 in 2008. Chicago will counter with right-hander Dylan Covey in the 8:10 p.m. ET matchup.
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. You can follow him on Twitter @Casey_Harrison1.