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101 dominant wins: Tribe 1 shy of AL top seed

September 29, 2017

CLEVELAND -- The Indians' offense combined to score 10 runs in two innings to back Trevor Bauer's strong outing against the White Sox on Friday night, as Cleveland coasted to win No. 101 on the season with a 10-1 victory at Progressive Field.The Tribe passed the 1995 club for the

CLEVELAND -- The Indians' offense combined to score 10 runs in two innings to back Trevor Bauer's strong outing against the White Sox on Friday night, as Cleveland coasted to win No. 101 on the season with a 10-1 victory at Progressive Field.
The Tribe passed the 1995 club for the second most wins in franchise history. This season's team is second only to the '54 Indians, who finished with 111 victories. In addition, Cleveland's 101 wins are the most for a team in American League Central history (dating back to realignment in '94).
"I feel like we still have stuff to play for, and I feel like we're a group of guys who don't really settle for good," Indians right fielder Jay Bruce said. "We're going to take everything we can get. We still have stuff to play for. We'll see what happens, and we have plenty of time to rest when this is all over."
With the win, the Indians trimmed their magic number to clinch home-field advantage through the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World to 1. Cleveland maintained its one-game lead over Houston for the top seed in the AL after the Astros' 3-2 win over the Red Sox. In the case of a tie, the Tribe holds the tiebreaker after winning the season series against the Astros.
"We have to [keep our foot on the gas pedal] the way Houston's played," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But I think it's been good for us. Because in this game, you can't turn a button on and off. So, the best way to go about it is to play the best you can. And our guys have done a really good job of that."
Additionally, Cleveland now trails the Dodgers by one game for the best record in the Majors following Los Angeles' loss to the Rockies. In order for the Indians to finish with the best overall record, which determines home-field advantage in the World Series, they must win out and the Dodgers lose out. Los Angeles holds the tiebreaker over Cleveland.
Bruce connected on a two-run shot for his 36th homer of the season and Edwin Encarnacion finished with three RBIs to raise his season total to 107. Austin Jackson added an RBI single and Yandy Diaz clubbed an RBI double.

All-Star Jose Ramirez finished the night 3-for-3 with two doubles, including a two-run double in the second. Ramirez is now only the third player in Indians history to hit 55 doubles in a season. He joins Tris Speaker (1923) and George Burns ('26) as the only players to reach that mark while wearing a Cleveland uniform.
"I think that Jose is playing as well as anybody," Bruce said. "And it remains to be seen who is going to end up being the MVP, but he's done everything he can to cement himself in the conversation. I think that is impressive in itself."

Bauer earned his 17th win with six solid innings, allowing four hits and issuing no walks with seven strikeouts. The only blemish on Bauer's line came when White Sox third baseman Yolmer Sanchez hit a solo home run to start the fourth.
"He's really held his stuff the entire year," Francona said of Bauer. "And the second half, when our pitching seemed to kind of fall in line, he was right in the middle of that. And he's been really good. Tonight, he fell behind Sanchez and gave up the solo, but other than that, nothing."

White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey took his 12th loss of the season after surrendering 10 runs (seven earned) on six hits and six walks, which tied a career high, over 2 2/3 innings. Pelfrey fell to 0-3 with a 10.54 ERA in four games against the Indians this season and became the first White Sox pitcher to allow 10-or-more runs in a start since Jeff Samardzija allowed 10 on Sept. 15, 2015.
"Yeah, a little rough. A little rough," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Pelfrey's outing. "We tried to get him to give us as many innings as he possibly could, as many outs as he possibly could.
"We had to go out and get him, obviously. A little rough outing today, but we didn't help him. There were a couple of plays we probably could have made."
Anderson's costly error: After the Tribe got back-to-back two-out RBI knocks from Jackson and Ramirez in the second, the White Sox appeared to have escaped further damage when Encarnacion hit a routine grounder to short. However, the ball went through Tim Anderson's legs and into left field, allowing Ramirez to score the fourth run of the frame. This proved to be costly, as Bruce followed with a two-run homer to the left-center bleachers to cap a six-run inning.
"We have been playing very good, very clean baseball, and today wasn't one of our better games," Renteria said. "You can certainly see as you are playing and looking at those guys across the diamond, they are a very well fine-tuned team. Very gifted and getting themselves ready for their postseason run."

Edwin clears the bases: Following their six-run second, the Indians picked up right where they left off an inning later. Jason Kipnis and Diaz opened with consecutive doubles, and the Tribe later loaded the bases with two outs by drawing two straight walks from Pelfrey. Renteria opted to bring in left-handed reliever David Holmberg to face Encarnacion, but the decision backfired, as the designated hitter lined a double to the gap in right-center to clear the bases.

"They look really good. They have everything. They have hitting, pitching, they do the little things, too." -- Sanchez, on the 101-win Indians
"We're motivated to go win the World Series. That's what we want to do. That's what we set out in Spring [Training] to do. Everyone's just playing at a high level right now, so the results are what they are, because of that focus on the right things." -- Bauer
Ramirez's double in the second gave him 90 extra-base hits for the season. He is the fourth player in club history to achieve that feat, joining Hal Trosky (1936), Albert Belle ('95) and Player Page for Grady Sizemore (2006).
"He's a heck of a player," Bauer said of Ramirez. "I don't think there's anything I can say that tells people more than his play does."
Rymer Liriano replaced White Sox left fielder Nicky Delmonico (strained left shoulder) in the bottom of the sixth inning. Delmonico felt soreness swinging during his last at-bat, which was a strikeout to end the top half of the sixth. More information should be known on Saturday.
White Sox:Carson Fulmer (2-1, 4.42 ERA) makes his final start of the 2017 season in a 6:10 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday at Progressive Field. Fulmer was originally on track to start this past Tuesday, but he was bumped back to let a blister on his right index finger fully heal.
Indians: Tribe ace Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.27 ERA) will take the mound for Saturday's 7:10 p.m. ET matchup. The AL Cy Young Award candidate has picked up a win in each of his last six starts. In 46 innings over that span, he has posted a 0.98 ERA with 54 strikeouts against four walks.
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William Kosileski is a reporter for based in Cleveland and covered the Indians on Friday.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.