ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Francisco Lindor snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run homer and the remarkable Cleveland Indians held off the Los Angeles Angels 6-5 on Wednesday night for their 26th victory in 27 games.
It was Lindor’s 31st home run of the season, most by a switch-hitting shortstop in major league history.
Albert Pujols hit his 614th home run for Los Angeles, which remained 1½ games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card. The loss by the Angels clinched a playoff spot for AL East-leading Boston.
The Indians have beaten the Angels 10 consecutive times.
Tyler Olson (1-0) won in relief of Josh Tomlin, who allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Bryan Shaw worked two hitless innings for his third save, striking out three for the AL Central champions.
The game was tied 2-all in the seventh when Lindor connected off reliever Yusmeiro Petit (5-1). Edwin Encarnacion had an RBI single in the seventh and Jose Ramirez added one of his own in the eighth.
The Indians are 95-57, only one game back of the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Cleveland trailed the Dodgers by 20 games on Aug. 25.
C.J. Cron’s solo homer and RBI single accounted for the first two Los Angeles runs. Brandon Phillips and Mike Trout each had a two-out RBI double in the seventh. Pujols, mired in a 3-for-31 slump, hit a solo homer in the eighth.
After getting a second opinion on OF Michael Brantley’s sprained right ankle, the Indians are shutting him down for another seven to 10 days. He has not played since Aug. 8.
Being out another 10 days would make it difficult for Brantley to play in the postseason, particularly the first round.
“I don’t even feel it’s appropriate to say that right now,” manager Terry Francona said. “This guy’s trying his best to do whatever he can. It’s best to do whatever we can and see how he does.”
Indians: Francona said OF Lonnie Chisenhall would have taken time off with his calf injury even if Cleveland had not already clinched its division. Chisenhall remained home when the team came to Anaheim. “He needed to have some time down. He needed to have three to five without doing stuff,” Francona said.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (shoulder) played catch Tuesday and came out of it well, manager Mike Scioscia said, but Heaney’s next rehab effort has not been determined. . 3B Yunel Escobar again took fielding practice and hit in the indoor cage, but did not take batting practice on the field.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (5-6, 4.52 ERA) gets a start after making two scoreless relief appearances. His last start was Sept. 5. It will be his sixth start against the Angels (1-1, 3.74) but first this season.
Angels: RHP Parker Bridwell (8-2, 3.71), coming off the best start of his career, will face the Indians for the first time. He threw six scoreless innings against the Rangers last time out. The Angels are 16-2 in games in which he has appeared.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.