CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor's go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning of Thursday's series finale with the Angels helped the Indians finish off the three-game sweep and win their seventh in a row with a 2-1 victory at Progressive Field.Lindor's tie-breaking single to right came off a 1-2 curveball from
CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor's go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning of Thursday's series finale with the Angels helped the Indians finish off the three-game sweep and win their seventh in a row with a 2-1 victory at Progressive Field.
Lindor's tie-breaking single to right came off a 1-2 curveball from Angels starter JC Ramirez and scored Brandon Guyer from second. Carlos Santana's 13th homer scored Cleveland's other run in the second inning, backing starter Trevor Bauer's excellent outing. The Indians (55-45) now hold a two-game lead over the Royals in the American League Central.
"The way Bauer was pitching today, I wanted to help him," Lindor said. "He definitely kept us in the game. He definitely deserved to win. Seemed like every time somebody got on second base I haven't been able to get them home the last couple at-bats. When I got the base hit, I was pretty pumped."
That was enough for Bauer, who picked up his ninth win of the season after going eight strong innings, allowing one run on seven hits and one walk while striking out six. He faced the minimum through the first four innings, and then worked out of jams in each of his final three frames.
"Boy, did he clutch up," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Bauer. "He had to get himself out of a couple innings. He competed like crazy. On a day when, I don't know, he maybe struck out a handful of guys. Man, did he pitch really well. I think the best thing of all was just the way he competed. He really got after it."
The only run the Angels scratched across came on C.J. Cron's single to center in the fifth inning. Swept for the first time since April, the Angels (49-54) dropped a season-high five games under .500 and fell 5 1/2 games back of the idle Royals for the second AL Wild Card spot.
• Angels hanging on to slipping WC hopes
"We just had a tough series," said Jose Pujols, who is in the midst of an 0-for-16 slump. "The road trip is not over. We need to go to Toronto, try to win tomorrow and hopefully win the series. I think that's the way that I look at this team. Everybody just goes out there and gives everything that they have. We don't have to throw in the towel. We have a lot of games left."
Ramirez was handed his ninth loss of the season after a solid outing of his own. Despite issuing a career-high six walks, Ramirez went 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
"He pitched a good game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think the only bumps in the road were the walks. But outside of that, he came back, made some pitches, got out of some jams and almost finished the seventh inning, which would have been big for us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bauer's great escape: After allowing back-to-back hits to Andrelton Simmons and Luis Valbuena to start the seventh, Bauer faced a tough situation: runners on second and third with no outs. Bauer recorded the first out by getting Cron to hit a weak grounder to third, forcing both runners to stay put. The next batter -- pinch-hitter Yunel Escobar -- struck out on five pitches, and Bauer buckled down and got Kaleb Cowart to ground out to short to work out of the jam and maintain the 1-1 tie.
"[Francona] having the confidence in me to get out of it was huge," Bauer said. "Coming out of the game never crossed my mind. It was kind of one of those things where it's like, 'All right, I've got one of two options. It's either give up runs here and we probably lose or I find some way to get out of it.' Thankfully it worked out. I was able to wiggle my way out." More >
Simba's relay: Tribe third baseman Giovanny Urshela was waved around third to try to score from first on Bradley Zimmer's double with one down in the fifth, but an 8-6-2 relay beat Urshela to the plate, where he crashed into catcher Juan Graterol and was called out. The Indians opted to challenge the play to see if there was a violation to the home-plate collision rule. A one-minute, six-second review confirmed there was no violation to the rule. Per Statcast™, Simmons' relay throw to the Graterol clocked in at 91.4 mph, which is his third-hardest throw since Statcast™ was first introduced in 2015.
"I don't know. That's not my decision. I pitch when they tell me and where they tell me and to who they tell me. That's my job." -- Bauer, on maintaining a spot in the Indians' rotation, which currently sits at six men
"We just couldn't get the lucky break. We hit the ball hard right at them our just couldn't come up with the big hit. That's just how the whole year has kind of been. We still have a lot of fight." -- Angels outfielder Ben Revere
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With the victory, the Indians swept a seven-game homestand that began on Friday against the Blue Jays. It is the first time that the Tribe has swept a seven-game homestand since they accomplished the feat from July 26-Aug. 1, 2013.
"We needed it," Francona said. "Needing it and doing it are two different things sometimes."
Angels: The Angels will head to Toronto and open a three-game series against the Blue Jays on Friday at 4:07 p.m. PT at Rogers Centre. Rookie right-hander Parker Bridwell (4-1, 3.09 ERA) will take the mound in the opener and make his first career start against the Blue Jays.
Indians: The Tribe will begin a six-game road trip through Chicago and Boston, beginning with Friday's 8:10 p.m. ET tilt with the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Right-hander Danny Salazar (3-5, 4.79 ERA) will take the mound. In his first start off the DL in his last time out, he went seven scoreless and only allowed one hit with eight strikeouts against Toronto.
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William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Indians on Thursday.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.