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(Wednesday, September 25th)
Final Score: Cleveland 7, Chicago 2
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer in Cleveland's finale at Progressive Field, and the playoff-hopeful Indians finished their lopsided season series against the Chicago White Sox with a 7-2 victory.
The Indians control their postseason fate thanks to a run of six straight wins during an 11-2 stretch. They lead the Texas Rangers by one game for the AL's second wild card spot with four remaining against the Minnesota Twins. The Rangers end their season with a four-game set against the Angels.
"It's exciting to play games that are this meaningful," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We did what we needed to do."
Tuesday's win completed a sweep of the two-game series and Cleveland's 14th consecutive victory against its AL Central rival.
Asdrubal Cabrera drove in two runs, Michael Brantley went 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI and Danny Salazar (2-3) picked up his first victory since his major league debut on July 11. The rookie right-hander struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings while scattering six hits and two runs.
The White Sox, who went 2-17 against Cleveland this year, went a franchise- worst 26-55 on the road and are on pace to finish in last place for the first time since 1989.
Dylan Axelrod (4-11) was the latest Chicago pitcher to underperform, as he surrendered five runs -- three earned -- on eight hits over 5 2/3 frames.
"I have to keep my head up and take the positives from this year into next year," Axelrod said.
Avisail Garcia hit a leadoff homer deep into the left-field seats in the second inning, but Chicago's lead didn't last long thanks to a sloppy bottom half.
Alexei Ramirez bobbled the throw at second while trying to turn a potential inning-ending double play, and a wild pitch followed by Marcus Semien's error at third allowed Lonnie Chisenhall to score.
Drew Stubbs, who hit the sharp one-hopper to Semien, advanced to second on the miscue before crossing the plate on Brantley's base hit to center.
Swisher, following a Brantley double, made it 4-1 in the fifth when he sent one over the wall in center for his 21st home run of the season.
Salazar was pulled with two on and one out in the sixth, and Dayan Viciedo greeted Bryan Shaw with an RBI single. Shaw, though, struck out the next two hitters, and the Indians got the run back on Stubbs' sacrifice fly in their half of the sixth.
Cabrera put the game out of reach with a two-run single in the seventh, and Justin Masterson gave the home crowd a thrill in the ninth by making his first appearance since Sept. 2, when he left his start with an oblique injury.
Masterson, who made the All-Star Game this year, struck out a pair in his scoreless inning of relief.
The Indians have a 20-win improvement from last year's 68-94 campaign -- the largest year-to-year increase since the club saw a 24-win jump from 1985 (60-102) to 1986 (84-78) ... The last time Cleveland won 14 straight meetings against a single opponent came during the 1960 season against the Kansas City A's ... Cleveland went 51-30 at home ... Brantley has seven RBI in his last four games ... The White Sox struck out 16 times.
09/26 00:35:56 ET