CHICAGO -- The Cleveland Indians stand one victory away from matching franchise history.With Tuesday's 9-4 win over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Indians (82-56) won for the 13th straight time. They won a franchise-best 14 straight in '16 and became the first team with win streaks of
CHICAGO -- The Cleveland Indians stand one victory away from matching franchise history.
With Tuesday's 9-4 win over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Indians (82-56) won for the 13th straight time. They won a franchise-best 14 straight in '16 and became the first team with win streaks of at least 13 games in consecutive seasons since the Yankees won 15 straight in 1960 and then 13 in 1961.
Cleveland has trailed twice in 117 innings during the 13-game win streak; the Yankees held a 2-1 lead for a half-inning on Aug. 28 and the White Sox grabbed a short-lived 4-3 lead in the first inning Tuesday. But Jose Ramirez tied the game with a home run off White Sox starter David Holmberg in the second, and Greg Allen's two-run double put the Indians ahead to stay in the third.
The Indians' magic number to clinch the American League Central falls to 14 with the Twins' 2-1 loss to the Rays.
"They have a really good offense," said White Sox first baseman Matt Davidson of the Indians. "Everybody swings it, and everybody's hot right now. I think that's kind of what they want as a playoff team going into September and October. We're just trying to give them the best we've got and keep on going."
Danny Salazar returned from the disabled list (elbow inflammation) with a short outing planned for his first start since Aug. 20. But the right-hander didn't get out of the first inning, walking two, hitting a batter and yielding Davidson's three-run home run.
"The good side of it is his arm's obviously feeling good, because he was firing it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He just had no idea where it was going. He had no feel for a changeup, and he was erratic with his fastball."
Seven relievers followed Salazar, with Dan Otero earning the victory with two scoreless innings. The final six Cleveland relievers yielded nine hits over eight scoreless innings, issuing one walk and striking out nine. Shawn Armstrong pitched the ninth to preserve the win.
"We're prepared for anything," Otero said. "We've been there before. We're prepared for anything from the first pitch on, and when these situations arise, you can't really mope or do anything about it. You just have to go in there and pitch. Everybody who came in there tonight really attacked, and we were able to pull off a great team win."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ramirez has something extra: Ramirez homered with two outs in the second, but that long drive did more than tie the game. It gave Ramirez two home runs in two innings, and his sixth career two-homer game, all coming this season. That total stands as the most by a switch-hitter since Lance Berkman in 2006, per Statcast™. Ramirez has seven homers in his last eight games and five in his last three, not to mention 15 extra-base hits out of his last 19 hits covering the past nine games.
"It's impressive. It looked like at the end of the day, he almost felt too good," Francona said. "He was kind of over-swinging. But it's been fun to watch."
Fulmer escapes: With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, Carson Fulmer was summoned from the bullpen to replace Mike Pelfrey and face Ramirez: No pressure there, kid. The situation grew even tougher for the No. 11 White Sox prospect per MLBPipeline.com when he fell behind one of the game's hottest hitters at 3-1. But Fulmer's four-seam fastball got Ramirez to pop out to third baseman Yolmer Sanchez for the inning's third out. Fulmer retired Ramirez on a popout to third in the eighth as well, finishing with 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
"I was talking about it with [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] on the bench -- 'What do you go with here?' -- of the guys we had available to us," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of the first Fulmer-Ramirez matchup. "Fulmer's got some life to his pitches, and it was basically what happened.
"He beat him enough to induce that fly ball. It ended up working out in that particular situation, and he got through a couple other jams, too. He's getting a feel, trying to get comfortable, just trying to be himself and pitch."
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"Yeah, definitely I've shown some success, but I feel like I have a lot more to improve on. I'm glad to put some numbers up." -- Davidson, who set a career high at any level of his professional career with his 24th home run. Davidson hit 23 homers with Triple-A Charlotte in '15.
"That just shows the kind of depth we have. Everyone came in and did their job. When they scored four runs in the first, it's the same thing as us. We scored three runs in the first, and our momentum was kicking. They did the same thing, and to shut them out for the rest of the game, that's pretty hard to do." -- Indians catcher Yan Gomes, on the bullpen
The first inning of Tuesday's contest was not exactly a thing of beauty on either side. The frame lasted 46 minutes, with both teams sending nine men to the plate and scoring a combined seven runs. Salazar and Indians reliever Nicholas Goody threw 44 pitches, with 18 for strikes. In total, 82 pitches were thrown in the first, with seven walks and a hit batsman.
Indians:Carlos Carrasco (13-6, 3.67 ERA) threw eight scoreless innings the last time he was at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 22. He'll make the 8:10 p.m. ET start looking to allow two or fewer runs for the fourth time in his last five starts.
White Sox:Reynaldo Lopez (0-2, 6.06 ERA) is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season, third at Guaranteed Rate Field and first vs. Cleveland in a 7:10 p.m. CT game Wednesday night. Lopez is 5-5 with a 5.22 ERA, .260 opponents average and a 1.51 WHIP in 14 career appearances (nine starts).
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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.