Indians 5, Twins 1

Indians on top after ninth straight win

Cleveland will be in with Sunday win

Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis (right) greets Carlos Santana following his two-run homer in the fourth.
Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis (right) greets Carlos Santana following his two-run homer in the fourth.

MINNEAPOLIS — The playoff scenario for the Cleveland Indians is simple: win Sunday and they are in.

The Indians moved into sole possession of the AL wild-card lead on the next-to-last scheduled day of the regular season, beating the Minnesota Twins, 5-1, Saturday behind Scott Kazmir’s strong start to extend their winning streak to nine.

Seeking their first postseason appearance since 2007, the Indians (91-70) took a one-game lead over Tampa Bay and Texas (both 90-71).


‘‘We want to keep this roll going. This is so much fun,’’ Nick Swisher said.

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Cleveland is ensured of at least a tie for the AL wild card. With three teams seeking the two wild cards, Sunday’s results could decide the matter or lead to one or two tiebreaker games at the start of next week.

Carlos Santana homered for the Indians, who have won 14 of their last 16.

If the three teams are tied after Sunday, Cleveland would host Tampa Bay Monday, with the winner advancing to the postseason. The loser would play at Texas Tuesday for the second wild card.

In the event Sunday ends with a tie for the second wild-card berth, there would be a one-game tiebreaker Monday. Tampa Bay would host Cleveland, Texas would be home against the Rays, or the Indians would host the Rangers.


The two wild cards would then meet in a postseason game Wednesday to determine which advances to the Division Series to face the Red Sox.

‘‘Every time you win, it makes the next day that much more important, so we get to show up tomorrow and see if we can win a game,’’ Indians manager Terry Francona said.

‘‘We need to be one run better tomorrow and then we go from there.’’

After a rain delay of 2 hours, 26 minutes before the game, Kazmir (10-9) allowed one run and six hits in six innings, and three relivers followed with of hitless relief.

Kazmir won his second straight start after going 1-5 with a 5.82 ERA in his previous seven outings. He is 3-0 against Minnesota this year with a 1.45 ERA.


Hoping to make Minnesota’s 2014 rotation, Cole De Vries (0-2) allowed five runs and six hits in five innings. All five runs came with two outs.

‘‘You usually want to put teams away when you get two outs. That’s tough, but it’s kind of the way it works sometimes. What are you going to do?’’ he said.

Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9) is scheduled to pitch Sunday against Minnesota’s Scott Diamond (6-12). Cleveland is 20-6 in September, its first month of at least 20 wins since August 1995.

The Rays will start lefthander Matt Moore (16-4) against Toronto’s rookie righthander Todd Redmond (4-2).

Redmond was born in St. Petersburg, Fla., where his parents once were Rays season ticket-holders.

‘‘We have a chance to knock them out,’’ Redmond said. ‘‘That’s baseball. Hopefully we can pull it off.’’